Aussie car in­dus­try alive and well

Among the new ma­chin­ery ex­pected from across the Tas­man in the next few years, there’ll hy­brids, diesels and even some small cars, writes Dave Moore

South Waikato News - - MOTORING -

ONLY a year or so ago, pun­dits were al­most read­ing the last rites of the Aus­tralian car in­dus­try. They are prob­a­bly look­ing up from their pre­dic­tions of doom and gloom and rub­bing their eyes now in the face of an un­told num­ber of ad­vanced Holden, Ford and Toy­ota-badged cars ready to roll out for the Aus­tralian mar­ket.

That’s a mar­ket which is ready to cel­e­brate its sec­ond-ever an­nual one mil­lion new car sales to­tal.

At the re­cent Syd­ney mo­tor show, Ford and Holden showed ev­i­dence that not only were they quickly get­ting ready to push aside com­peti­tors of­fer­ing fully im­ported de­signs but also to de­sign, en­gi­neer and sell ve­hi­cles to other parts of the world.

In other words, they’ve re­booted their fix­a­tion with large cars and big en­gines and have moved to cre­ate smaller ve­hi­cles to suit the mar­ket’s de­mands and new lead­ing edge en­gines that are cleaner and eas­ier on the pocket.

Nei­ther maker will be for­get­ting its tra­di­tional large car core mar­ket, how­ever but even those of­fer­ings will be first-world ef­fi­cient rather than third-world prof­li­gate.

Over the next two years Holden’s new-ve­hi­cle ex­plo­sion in­cludes a range of four-wheeldrives, new fam­ily mem­bers for its small-car line-ups – some of which will be built in Aus­tralia, like the Ocker-de­signed five-door Cruze, which is to spawn a su­per Eco ver­sion, while the Fish­er­man’s bend crew will be also en­gi­neer­ing ma­jor up­dates for the Com­modore line-up.

Holden will also have its own ver­sion of the GM Volt range­ex­tend­ing plug-in hy­brid car within that two-year thrust, if GM’s plants can spare pro­duc­tion that is.

While Holden won’t be build­ing ev­ery model, its de­sign peo­ple will cer­tainly be driv­ing the way they look, while it’s ex­pected that Aus­tralian en­gi­neers will be work­ing on the hard-points of a new Captiva soft-roader fam­ily, as well as an all-new pickup truck that will re­place the cur­rent Colorado.

Ford said it had six new mod­els of its own ready to reach show­rooms in Aus­tralia and New Zealand.

The Fal­con is to be supplied with su­per-ef­fi­cient 2.0-litre fours and su­per-pow­er­ful 5.0-litre V8s, while the Ter­ri­tory is to un­dergo a ground-up re­vamp, with its top model tak­ing a 2.7-litre tur­bod­iesel V6 al­ready used to good ef­fect by Jaguar and Land Rover.

Stung by the suc­cess of the Captiva soft-roader, Ford will counter Holden with a Fo­cus III-based Kuga 4x4 and many sus­pect that the Fi­esta is about to spawn its own mini-SUV, which the Aus­tralian mar­ket could take to very read­ily.

The jury is still out on Ford’s in­ten­tions in terms of re­plac­ing the Ka.

But with Holden’s Ba­rina Spark model on the scene – it’s a much more con­vinc­ing Korean of­fer­ing than the pre­vi­ous Ba­rina was – the blue oval can’t af­ford not to com­pete with it.

With the long wheel­base Fair­lane gone, Ford could even have an an­swer for its lack of a Holden States­man com­peti­tor.

It ap­pears that US Ford lux­ury name­plate Lin­coln is go­ing to be­come an in­ter­na­tional brand and Ford Aus­tralia would be a shoo-in for a large govern­ment car/ taxi of­fer­ing based on the fa­mous mar­que.

It’s also ru­moured that sto­ries of the RWD Fal­con’s demise have been quashed in Detroit.

It seems that Ford in the US has been stung a lit­tle by the de­mand for the in­de­pen­dently rear sprung Dodge Chal­lenger and the sim­i­larly-sus­pended Chevro­let Ca­maro against the cart-sprung live-axle Mus­tang.

With Aus­tralia be­ing the Michi­gan head­quar­tered com­pany’s only rear-drive in­de­pen­dent sus­pen­sion cen­tre of ex­cel­lence, Ford may need a new RWD plat­form even more than the mar­ket does.

Mean­while, Toy­ota, which in­ci­den­tally is Aus­tralia’s biggest ex­porter of cars, has de­cided to build an all-new Camry in both con­ven­tional and hy­brid ver­sions from early 2012, while there’s even a chance that the High­lander SUV – known as the Kluger in OZ – could also be built in Mel­bourne, again in petrol and hy­brid forms.

So when the Dog and Le­mon Guide again spouts about the im­mi­nent death of the Aus­tralian car in­dus­try, maybe it should add ‘‘Yeah, right’’.

HOLD ON: Sug­ges­tions made last year that Aus­tralian car man­u­fac­turer Holden was in fi­nan­cial trou­ble ap­pear false.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.