Happy new year?
Well, what a brilliant New Year we have ahead of us! The economy continues to move on strongly, and new vehicle sales hit a brand-new record of just a smidgin under 160,000 vehicles. Toyota continues as the market leader, and the Ford Ranger as the best-selling vehicle overall, as well, as obviously, being best-selling commercial.
According to the Motor Industry Association (MIA), a high level of activity is expected to continue through 2018, though the association isn’t expecting many new records.
As far as ongoing developments in the industry are concerned, the electric vehicle lobby seems to be gaining some traction, but only at the expense of government subsidies, and although some majors have included EVs into their fleets, we would expect the prices they have paid for them have been way off what you or I would be expected to pay.
Initial purchase price continues to be an inhibitor as far as EVs are concerned, with infrastructure improving, but still another limiting factor.
What is often overlooked in the EV equation is that only the drive train is electric; the rest of the car is pretty much the same as an ordinary petrol or diesel, and requires the same maintenance and repair cycle.
Then we have a look at autonomous cars. I touch on that in a bit more detail on page 20, but at the moment it seems the lawmakers, for once, are ahead of the game as the technology seems to have stalled a bit, possibly because of the cost of some of the sensors and cameras required.
We had a couple of new 110km/h stretches of motorway announced late last year, basically on the latest, widest, and safest roads, but my bet is this will be followed up by lower limits on other roads.
The police and the so-called road safety people remain fixated on vehicle speed as the only problem, despite an increase in the road toll which indicates other factors may be at work. My bet is texting and using cellphones at the wheel, but the authorities have maintained a deathly silence… probably because they don’t know how to deal with a problem that is obvious to the rest of us.