The Centralian advocate Tue 29 Jan 2013
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Centralian Advocate, Tuesday, January 29, 2013 17 P U B : C A D V D A T E : 2 9 -J A N -2 0 1 3 P A G E : 1 7 C O L O R : C M Y K 1 0 0 2 6 2 3 MOTORING Imported car sales drive ahead of Aussie big two Joshua Dowling The Corolla was Toyotas leading-selling model in 2003, when the company first topped vehicle sales in Australia CONTINUING the look back at Australias taste in cars in the past 50 years. 1980s The decade that Bob Hawke became Prime Minister also happened to see the biggest change in the Australian automotive industry since the 1950s. The Kingswood era ended almost as quickly as it began. After years of making cars bigger, heavier and more powerful, the oil scare of the late 1970s prompted a fundamental rethink. The mighty Kingswood was replaced by the smaller Commodore, whose origins were shared with a European sedan. It gave Holden better fuel economy and more agile handling than its peers but buyers didnt embrace it. The four-cylinder Commodore tanked; it used as much fuel as the six because it had to work harder to keep moving. Adding further grief, by the time the slimmed-down Commodore had arrived, the oil crisis had subsided and buyers favoured big cars and Ford had just released the biggest yet, the XD Falcon. In some ways Ford was rewarded for reacting slowly to the oil crisis or not at all because the XD and subsequent Falcons would go on to be top sellers for Ford, starting a golden era for the Blue Oval brand. By 1982, the Ford Falcon had overtaken the equivalent Holden for the first time in a decade. The Falcon remained the top seller until 1989, after Holden responded to our taste for bigger cars with the biggest Commodore yet, the VN. Ford did make one crucial faux pas that decade. It dropped the V8 from the Falcon in 1984. It wouldnt return until 1991. 1990s The 1990s was the Age of Reason according to John Farnham. But it was also the decade that saw the fiercest battle yet between Holden and Ford, who had dominated the sales charts for four decades with their locally-made large cars. Holden had phenomenal and instant success with the VN Commodore and, by the time the 1990s rolled around, it had serious momentum. The Commodore snatched the sales lead from the Falcon in 1989 to win three years in a row. But that would spark a battle that saw Holden and Ford swap the lead four times during the decade. The Falcons last claim to sales fame was in 1995. From there the Commodore would go on to a record 15-year winning streak, the longest time at the top for any nameplate in Australia. In 1998 Holden sold more than 94,000 Commodores. Not a patch on the sales rate of its cars from the 1960s and 70s, but it would be the high watermark for the Commodore. Meanwhile, the threat of imported cars and SUVs was just around the corner. Toyota had proven to be an early challenger, selling more cars than Holden and Ford for the first time in 1991. It was a sign of things to come. 2000s By far the biggest change to the Australian automotive landscape happened at the turn of the century. Gradually lower tariffs and a strong dollar made Australia fertile ground for foreign brands, and we embraced these new imported cars and SUVs (a term that we adopted from the Americans to describe cars that look like 4WDs but which lack their heavy-duty hardware) that were smaller, more economical, more practical or all of the above. At the start of the decade locally-made cars still maintained about a third of the car market. But their grip and market share were slipping. By 2005 just 25 per cent of cars sold in Australia were locally-made. By 2012 it had halved again to 12.5 per cent. In the 1960s it was greater than 50 per cent. The Holden versus Ford era was no more. Toyota, with its vast and diverse model range, took market leadership in 2003 and hasnt looked back since. Last year Ford was even knocked off third place on the podium by importers Mazda and Hyundai. In the late 1990s and early 2000s there were fewer than 50 brands and 200 models from which to choose. Today 67 brands sell more than 360 models. Companies and government departments now allow their employees to lease any car they want, provided it is within a certain budget. A decade ago they would be obliged to choose from the Ford or Holden catalogue. Private buyers, meanwhile, are taking advantage of low prices and interest rates. Australians are richer as a result and today have more choice in cars than any other developed country in the world. But it means our local manufacturing industry has an unprecedented battle of survival ahead. The brilliant new Holden Colorado 7 LTZ Colorado 7 for muscular sleek design Story and pictures Corey Sinclair The four-cylinder 2.8L diesel engine A great view from the drivers seat The dials are easy to read An integrated media system WHETHER you are a Toyota or a Ford supporter, you will be able to appreciate the brilliance of the new Holden Colorado 7 LTZ. It transcends brand loyalty and will leave even the most faithful supporters reconsidering their unwavering allegiances. The first thing you will notice about the Colorado 7 LTZ is its sleek and muscular design. As you climb inside the chassis you will notice how comfortable it is. Driving through the winding road of The Gap and out towards the airport, the handling of the Colorado 7 was remarkable. Despite the Colorado 7 LTZs Duramax in-line four-cylinder 2.8L diesel engine, it felt like I was driving a V8 beast. The Duramax diesel engine can achieve up to 132kW of power and 470Nm of torque. Above the leather-wrapped steering wheel is the eye-catching driver information display that lets you know how much fuel you are using, distance to empty, average speed and the outside temperature. Each journey will be made enjoyable with the integrated media system that you can control from the steering-wheel-mounted controls. It features a CD player, AM/FM radio, auxiliary input, eight speakers and bluetooth and USB connectivity. And each journey will be comfortable with the cars airconditioning system that left me feeling quite cool on an otherwise sweltering day. It also comes with a staggering list of safety features that gained it a 5-star ANCAP rating. They come standard with driver and front passenger airbags, fulllength side curtain airbags, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Traction Control System (TCS), and Descent Control System (DCS). Rear park assist and the rear vision camera make reversing a pleasure instead of being a daunting experience. The Colorado 7 also comes with high-ride double wishbone front suspension with added ground clearance, and five-link rear suspension for greater stability while towing. The Colorado 7 LTZ is perfect for a family, with seven seats, and offers an impressive amount of storage space. With the rear seats folded down there is 1830L of space. There is also 878L with the third-row seats folded and 235L with all seats up. So, whether you need a new SUV for the family or a car that can take a beating, the Holden Colorado 7 LTZ has something for everybody. Hyundai hurting S O U T H K o r e a s Hyundai Motor Co reported its lowest quarterly profit in almost two years due to lacklustre car sales at home and a surge in local currency that made it less competitive with Japanese companies. South Koreas largest vehicle maker earned 1.89 trillion won ($1.69 billion) in the OctoberDecember quarter, down 5.5 per cent from a year earlier. The result was below the median analyst forecast of 2.05 trillion won, according to FactSet. It was also the companys smallest profit since the first quarter of 2011. The company warned a continued rise in the won could hurt its profit this year, even though annual vehicle shipments are expected to rise by 6 per cent.