All Things Newz

Big week in car news: August 15-19

We publish a ton of car news stories during the working week (70-odd as a rule), and it can be tough to keep up with everything – which is the rationale behind this weekend list.

In short, here are some key articles from our news desk since Monday of this week summarised, just in case you missed them at the time.

There are a few more in this week’s list than normal, because it was a huge one: everything from EV policy, to muscle cars, to customer wait times, and sales projections.

New government gets serious on EVs

The newly-elected ALP Federal Government says it wants Australians to have a greater choice of affordable electric vehicles (EV) after years of inaction out of Canberra.

The Government today got the ball rolling on its National Electric Vehicle Strategy, with a discussion paper soon to start taking submissions from the car industry and other stakeholders. According to most industry stakeholders this is long overdue.

The core policy to be addressed is the belated introduction of fuel efficiency standards and the application of a binding tailpipe CO2 reduction scheme, which the car industry and other stakeholders have long said is essential to unlock greater EV supply.

FULL STORY: Dumping ground no more? Australian Government’s affordable EV push

A Charger that needs charging?

Dodge has previewed a next-generation muscle car cloaked in retro styling and featuring a familiar name… but it’s electric.

The Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept, the brand says, “drives like a Dodge, looks like a Dodge and feels like a Dodge – and just so happens to be a battery-electric vehicle”.

It’s all-wheel drive and powered by a new 800V propulsion system Dodge has christened Banshee and, though Dodge hasn’t released any information on outputs, battery size or range, it’s detailed various components and features.

FULL STORY: Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept muscle EV revealed

Ford lays off contractors

Ford Australia is cutting 120 jobs across its product development and design teams, but it says this tally includes only contractors and not permanent employees.

The cuts leave approximately 2300 workers remaining, a figure which also includes contractors.

“Ford is currently undergoing a global transformation, which includes implementing significant changes in priorities and organization consistent with the Ford+ plan for growth and value creation,” said a spokesperson for Ford Australia.

FULL STORY: Ford Australia cuts contract workforce

Cash for clunkers scheme in play

The Victorian State Government is paying cash-strapped young drivers, based in regional areas, $5000 to ditch their unsafe old car and replace it with something newer.

Minister for Roads Ben Carroll recently announced the plan to expand a taxpayer-funded trial program that kicked off last year in the regional centres of Ballarat and Bendigo. The program is rather strangely called ‘unsafe2safe’, and is now taking applications across all of country Victoria, meaning areas that aren’t in Greater Melbourne.

This latest phase of the trial program will give a $5000 subsidy to 150 young drivers aged 18 to 25 with VicRoads accounts, helping them ditch their old clunker aged 16 years or over for something newer – and in all probability safer. The cutoff this time is September 4.

FULL STORY: Young regional Victorians being paid to trade in their old clunkers

Where are the electric utes?

Electric LDV utes have been confirmed for right-hand drive markets like the UK and New Zealand, but have yet to be locked in for Australia.

Pre-orders have opened for the Maxus T90EV in the UK, with deliveries beginning in the first quarter of 2023. That follows the opening of pre-orders for the related eT60 in New Zealand earlier this year.

“We’re aware they’re available in right-hand drive and we’re looking at the situation very closely,” said a spokesperson for Ateco, LDV’s distributor in Australia.

FULL STORY: LDV T90 EV ute still not confirmed for Australia as RHD sales begin

Skoda forecasts Aussie sales record

Skoda Australia anticipates far healthier stock levels from the start of 2023, with a “full normalisation” of supply from its European plants expected by mid-next-year.

As such, the Czech brand’s local arm is forecasting an all-time record since the brand launched here in its present incarnation in 2007 – a combination of delivering on existing orders, and growing its customer base.

While Skoda management would not confirm its internal sales target on the record, company sources told us around 12,000 units for calendar year 2023 was the aim. The brand’s best year so far in Australia was 2021, when it recorded 9185 sales.

FULL STORY: Skoda targets record sales in 2023 as Australian supply improves

Pure six appeal

Remember the stunning Polestar O2 Concept from March? It’s not a concept anymore. Polestar has confirmed it’ll put a version of the electric drop-top into production, dubbed the Polestar 6. The catch is you’ll have to wait until 2026. At least that gives you plenty of time to save.

The car pictured here is the Polestar 6 LA Concept edition. Just 500 will be offered globally, each of which will feature Sky blue exterior paint, a light leather interior, and unique wheels lifted from the O2 Concept.

Keen buyers (even those in Australia) are already able to reserve a build slot for US$25,000 (~$35,500), and the car is expected to cost around US$200,000 (~$285,000) when it launches.

FULL STORY: 2026 Polestar 6 – O2 Concept becoming reality, reservations open

Pressure at the pump

Australian households are spending more than $100 per week on petrol, despite the temporary removal of the fuel excise.

According to the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) Transport Affordability Index, the average weekly fuel cost for Australian households jumped by $5 to $100.39 in the second quarter of 2022.

It’s the first time the AAA has reported a weekly fuel cost of more than $100 since the Affordability Index’s inception in 2016, and is one of the factors contributing to a broader 3.2 per cent increase in the national average transport cost.

FULL STORY: Excise cut can’t stop household fuel costs skyrocketing

Renault ready for dust-up with Jimny and co.

Renault Australia’s ongoing efforts to bring the rugged little Dacia Duster look to have entered a new phase, with the company already honing the sales pitch for its new potential price-leader.

A next-generation version of the Dacia Duster – Dacia being Renault’s affordable sub-brand in markets such as Europe and the UK – is expected to appear globally in 2024.

While it will doubtless have more tech and features than the current model that sells up a storm, it’s expected to retain aspects of the cheap and utilitarian features that have made it such a hit.

FULL STORY: 2024 Renault Duster budget SUV firming for Australia

VW backs Albo’s EV push

Volkswagen Group Australia, the country’s largest importer of European cars, has thrown its weight behind the Albanese Government’s promised National Electric Vehicle Strategy.

Detailed here, the driving point of the Government’s strategy is the implementation of fuel efficiency standards and a binding CO2 reduction scheme – which some carmakers (not all) insist are the key to them securing sufficient stock of EVs for the Australian market.

A discussion paper around the implementation of this policy was floated at today’s Canberra EV Summit organised by the Electric Vehicle Council, Smart Energy Council and the Australia Institute.

FULL STORY: VW Group Australia claims to hold ‘leadership position’ in EV discussion

Some stats on customer wait times

The average Toyota RAV4 buyer is waiting close to a year for their new car to arrive.

Data from new car buyer service PriceMyCar (PMC) reveals Toyota RAV4 buyers are facing an average 339-day wait for their vehicles, with the Isuzu MU-X not far behind at 308 days.

Three of the five cars with the longest waits are Toyotas, with the LandCruiser (280 days) and Fortuner (262 days) slotting in behind the Volkswagen Passat (296 days) on the PMC ladder.

FULL STORY: Isuzu and Toyota buyers facing longest new-car waits

Great Wall scaling new heights

Great Wall Motor, parent company for GWM and GWM Haval, says strong supply in the second half of 2022 should see it top the 20,000 sales mark for the first time.

The company has sold 10,684 new cars to date in 2022, and says the “supply challenges” it has been facing for the last few months “look to be largely in the rear-view mirror”.

“The company expects another record sales performance in 2022 with total sales in excess of 20,000,” GWM Australia said in a statement. It sold 18,384 cars in 2021.

FULL STORY: GWM expecting record 20,000 sales for 2022, as supply improves

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