Mini aims for maxi sav­ings

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By PAUL GOVER

THE first sub-$30,000 Mini leads this week’s grow­ing list of val­ueadded new­com­ers to Aus­tralian mo­tor­ing show­rooms.

The Mini Ray comes as GM Holden un­leashes a spe­cial Thun­der Com­modore ute, Nis­san boosts value on its 370Z, and Honda works to cash in on a value boost to the main­stay Civic Hatch in March.

Re­nault has also stretched its ap­peal with the first five-year war­ranty deal on a Euro­pean car, while Toy­ota is pre­par­ing a re­tail sales at­tack for May across its range and BMW has slashed up to 11 per cent from the show­room price tags on its 3 Se­ries bedrock mod­els.

The bot­tom line on the Ray has dropped all the way to $25,500, but Mini is pro­tect­ing its main­stream mod­els from ero­sion by lim­it­ing sup­ply to just 300 cars— and fit­ting hub­cabs.

The Ray also drops to a 1.6-litre en­gine with a mea­gre 72kW, against 90kW in a Mini Cooper, al­though the com­pen­sa­tion is bet­ter listed fuel econ­omy of 5.4 litres/100km.

The Ray move is copied from its launch in Italy, where it worked well for the brand. Mini says the car still has six airbags, a six-speed man­ual gear­box and de­nies any di­lu­tion of the brand’s qual­ity.

At the op­po­site end, Re­nault is look­ing to boost its brand with a new flag­ship called Lat­i­tude.

It takes the place of the unloved La­guna with a start­ing price of $36,990 and tar­geted ri­vals in­clud­ing the Toy­ota Camry and Honda Ac­cord.

‘‘We are ready to demon­strate our com­mit­ment to Aus­tralian cus- tomers,’’ says Re­nault boss, Justin Ho­ce­var, con­firm­ing the five-year war­ranty that ap­plies to the Lat­i­tude and all pas­sen­ger cars in the brand’s range which have been on sale since April 1.

For Holden, the Thun­der ute re­vives a pack­age last seen on the VZ Com­modore and is claimed to cel­e­brate the 60th birth­day of the first Holden ute.

It’s a claimed $3000 value boost on the SS and SV6 that only adds al­loy wheels, leather seat bol­sters, satnav and — pre­dictably — spe­cial stick­ers. Nis­san has done more with the 370Z, al­though it has also lifted prices by $650 for the coupe and $800 for the road­ster — de­spite the strength of the Aus­tralian dol­lar — and says the off­set is a new sound and satnav sys­tem, a re­vers­ing cam­era, a cargo blind for the coupe, cli­mate-con­trolled seats for the road­ster, and wide-an­gle mir­rors.

The 3 Se­ries ac­tion at BMW is fo­cused above the starter car, but amounts to a $9100 re­duc­tion on some 325i mod­els and more than $3000 across the long-stand­ing M3 col­lec­tion.

The Mini Ray takes its lead from a value-adding cam­paign launched in Italy and drops to a less thirsty 1.6-litre en­gine

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