G8 glimmer of hope
ALL is not lost with the axing of the Pontiac brand this week. General Motors has announced the end of Pontiac as part of its radical restructuring as it stares bankruptcy in the face.
It also means the end of the lucrative exports of left hand drive and rebadged VE Holden Commodores as Pontiac G8s.
But southern reports suggest V8 Commodores could be heading stateside, badged as Chevrolet cop cars.
US police forces currently use ageing V8 rear-drive Crown Victoria cars built by Ford.
But the Blue Oval is ending production of the Yank Tank, so step in V8 VEs.
Earlier last month a hi-tech Pontiac G8 police car with full equipment and Los Angeles Police Department ( LAPD) black and white livery was shown at a police conference in Sydney (pictured below).
It was met with enthusiasm by the LAPD and other US police chiefs.
The LAPD prototype was produced with the help of Melbourne-based National Safety Agency which is now showing the vehicle to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The southern reports suggest up to 40,000 Chevrolet-based Commodore police vehicles could be exported each year to the US with Canada, the UK and the Middle East showing interest as well.
It’s more than the 30,000 Pontiac G8s which were scheduled to be delivered to the US annually.
GM Holden is downplaying the export potential, erring on the side of caution.
Already police-pack Commodores go to New Zealand and V8 Statesmans are used in the Middle East as police cars.
CYCLE TRACK FEEDBACK
CAIRNS Esplanade resident and cyclist Mick Storrs has given up using the Esplanade cycle track.
Reacting to my piece in last weekend’s column, Mr Storrs ( pictured right) said he too had been forced to dodge other cyclists, rollerbladers and skateboarders.
“People just ignore these signs and compliance with them is not enforced,” he said in an email.
“As for the bike track, it’s a joint-user facility, as there are no signs saying that it’s ‘bikes only’, although the bike symbol on the track makes this fairly obvious.
“The fact is that all users are at fault and, until such time as the security people extend their area of surveillance from the lagoon, this problem will persist.
“I now ride through Aeroglen, Freshwater and back over the Brinsmead hill through Edge Hill most evenings.
“It’s an hour’s ride and I return home … relaxed, not having to deal with selfish, rude and ignorant people.”
V6 ENGINES ACHIEVE GOOD ECONOMY
CARSGUIDE reader Geoff Hoff says six cylinder car motorists do not have to buy cars with the cylinder deactivation system to achieve good fuel economy.
In last weekend’s edition there was a report about an independent motoring expert driving a $39,990 Honda Accord V6, which has a system allowing the engine to run on three or four cylinders during periods of low power delivery. The result was overall economy of 7.22 litres/100km between Melbourne and Sydney
But Mr Hoff says his $38,990 Toyota Aurion Sportivo SX6 (an example is pictured above) can achieve similar economy without such a system.
“Recently we drove from Cairns to Mackay and back, with an overnight stay in Mackay. The round trip was just over 1600km.
“Our tank averages were 7.8, 7.7, 7.9 etc and I believe we showed 7.6 during one leg of the trip.
“These figures are only slightly better than we achieved on the same trip when the 40,000km car was only months old. The figures were achieved with only a passing regard for economy.”
Mr Hoff said he had four adults on board at a cruise controlled speed of about 100km/h.
“I would be interested to check the economy of our vehicle under similar conditions to the trip noted in the article,” he said.
“I feel confident it could match that economy, given that the road between Cairns and Mackay is not what you would call a freeway, calling for full throttle passing manoeuvres at frequent intervals.
“I read a similar article about the V8 Holden with cylinder deactivation. What a pointless exercise, with a saving of perhaps one or two litres per 100km.”
BRAND T MOVES UP
TOYOTA has moved into the top 10 of the world’s leading 500 brands, according to a study by an international consultancy firm.
The Global 500 report, compiled by Brand Finance plc, said Toyota retained its status as the world’s most valuable automotive brand and the premier Asian brand.
“Despite the global slowdown of vehicle sales, Toyota continued to invest in the design and manufacturing of environmentally friendly hybrid vehicles,” the Global 500 report said.
Toyota’s brand value, the measure of the brand’s financial strength, was calculated at $US22 billion, lifting it from 13th to 10th place in the Global 500.
Toyota’s brand rating was lifted from AA to AAA. The second-ranked auto manufacturer, BMW, had a brand value of $US13.7 billion, down more than 20 per cent from $US17.2 billion. Walmart was number one, rising from fourth position to replace Coca-Cola.
Nick Dalton, Ph: 4052 6661, email: dal[email protected] tcp.newsltd.com.au Scott Rider, Ph: 4052 6916, mobile O422 525 545, email rid[email protected] tcp.newsltd. Peter Roggenkamp, Ph: 0418 184 456, email: [email protected]pond.com carsguide is a special publication of The Cairns Post custom publishing division