Blog Archives

EVs and hybrid vehicles reach 3m worldwide

Electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid vehicles units have reached 3 million worldwide. 

Numbers of electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles are only going to get bigger, as they are at the top of the priority list for auto manufacturers.

EV Volumes has predicted that there could be 5 million EVs and hybrid vehicles worldwide by the end of 2018.

Countries like China and Norway are reigning the leader board in terms of how many plug-in vehicles are on their roads.

China had an impressive 184,000 plug-in vehicles in 2017, a 15 per cent increase from 2016 (28,000 units). One third of vehicle sales are plug-in models in Norway, which will rise to 40 per cent thanks to Norway’s government incentives and subsidies to reach carbon neutral targets.

The electric fleet in New Zealand is also growing exponentially with a whopping 6,884 EVs and hybrids recorded in February 2018.

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Strong start for vehicle sales in Australia

Motor vehicle sales across Australia got off to a strong start in 2018 with record breaking sales in January, according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries’ (FCAI) latest statistics. 

Total sales for January, including passenger cars, SUVs, light and heavy commercial vehicles totalled 88,551 (up 4.3 per cent) for the month in comparison to January 2017, with significant growth in SUV and Light Commercial segments.

Tony Weber, chief executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

The Chief Executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, Tony Weber, noted the strong sales which reflected the ongoing value in the current market underpinned by significant competition between the many brands available in Australia.

“2017 was a record year for the industry and we’re pleased to see that strength continuing in the January 2018 sales results. Notably there was very strong growth in business sales of SUVs and Light Commercials,” Mr Weber said.

Within January 2018 segments , there were some significant increases in sales compared to the SUV and light commercial segments in January 2017 , with sales of small and medium SUVs up 25.5 per cent and 19.2 per cent respectively.

Similarly, sales of 4X4 Light Commercials were up by 26.6 per cent. Passenger motor vehicles declined by 8.7 per cent compared to January 2017, although passenger vehicles alone still account for a significant 36 per cent of the total market.

The nation’s top five best – selling vehicles in January were the Toyota Hilux (3,860) followed by the Ford Ranger (3,260), the Mazda3 (3,201), Toyota Corolla (2 ,776) and the Mazda CX.

Toyota led the market in January with a 17.3 per cent share, followed by Mazda (11. 4 per cent), Hyundai (8.0), Holden (6.5) and Ford (6.4).

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The new Jeep Wrangler

Jeep is finally providing answers to questions regarding the hotly anticipated aluminium bodied 2018 Wrangler, releasing a few photos and details this morning.

In a statement, Jeep said:

“The all-new Wrangler’s unique design includes an instantly recognisable keystone-shaped grille, iconic round headlamps and square tail lamps, improved aerodynamics, a convenient fold-down windshield for off-road purists, even more open-air freedom, and dozens of different door, top and windshield combinations.”

According to Jeep, the new Wrangler will feature the recognizable keystone shaped grille, more safety features and more advanced technology while “staying true” to the brand’s origins. In addition, the Wrangler will get more fuel-efficient powertrain options.

Complete details on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler will be available on November 29 when the off-roader makes its world debut at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show.

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NAITA approved for MVR access

Yesterday it was announced that NAITA has been approved by the NZTA as an official representative body for access to MVR Vehicle Ownership information.

Since its formation in September last year, NAITA has been working towards formalising itself and becoming an association that offers instant solutions to avoid motor vehicle traders from being excluded from accessing the Motor Vehicle Register (MVR).

While NAITA’s long-term goals include representation for the industry from a technology and data perspective, NAITA president, Mark Greenfield, says that becoming a representative body for MVR access was always intended to be the first goal of the association.

“With this achieved we will now set about growing the membership and turning our attention to other cross-industry technology issues.”

Businesses interested in joining NAITA can visit the website and download a membership form at


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New F1 engine from 2021

Yesterday Formula 1 bosses and the FIA revealed its plans for a new engine from 2021. 

The proposals are aimed at reducing costs, “improving the sound” and increasing competitiveness between teams.

The plan is to retain a 1.6-litre V6 turbo hybrid but to remove one of the two ways currently used to generate hybrid power, allowing drivers to have greater control over energy deployment. 

The main proposals are:

  • A 1.6-litre V6 turbo hybrid.
  • Engines running 3,000rpm faster to improve sound.
  • The removal of the MGU-H, which is largely responsible for muting the sound made by the current engines.
  • A more powerful MGU-K – which recovers energy from the rear axle – to make up the loss in hybrid energy from the MGU-H and with the option for a driver to save up energy over a number of laps to add a tactical element to the racing.
  • A single turbo with constraints on dimensions and weight.
  • Standard battery and control electronics.
  • Research into tightening up fuel regulations

The new formula will enable smaller, private engine companies to enter F1 and compete with the manufacturers and attract other car companies into the sport.

“The new F1 has the target to be the world’s leading global sports competition married to state of the art technology. To excite, engage, and awe fans of all ages but to do so in a sustainable manner. We believe that the future power unit will achieve this,” states Ross Brawn, F1 managing director.

The overall framework for the 2021 engine will be published at the end of 2017. 



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Nissan’s sales plummet amid scandal

Nissan Motor Co announced earlier this week that Japanese sales of new vehicles has dropped by approximately 50% in October compared to last years figures. 

Last month the discovery of improper final inspection procedures at Nissan Motor Co.’s domestic plants caused it to partly suspend production. 

Nissan didn’t provide exact figures for this month’s sales, but the car company sold 38,708 vehicles in Japan in October 2016.

The plants will resume production once the final inspection procedures have been brought in line with transport ministry requirements, a spokesman for the automaker said.

Nissan has completed those measures at one assembly plant and expects to have made similar changes at five other plants by the end of the week, he said.

This month was supposed to mark the unveiling of an electric-vehicle offensive for Nissan, who is eager to establish itself as the leader in the race to electrify its vehicle line-up.

Nissan is anticipated to outline a global EV sales push when it reports its earnings next week.

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The Honda EV Sports Concept

Honda’s latest concept car is an all-electric, two-seat sports car, combining EV performance and AI in a compact form. (more…)

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Safety checks at Kobe Steel plant

On Tuesday Japanese authorities announced they are conducting safety checks at a Kobe Steel Ltd aluminum plant.


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Japanese market set to shrink

With a shrinking domestic market, the powers that be at Toyota Motor Corp have decided to halve the number of car models sold in Japan by 2025. 

The decision has been made in response to a declining trend as the Japanese population ages and the younger generation chooses alternative measures to car ownership. 

Meanwhile, automakers worldwide are increasingly focusing their research and development efforts on electric vehicles (EVs) and autonomous driving technology. 

Toyota will gradually cut the models down from 60 to 30 by 2025, according to an unauthorised spokesperson who was interviewed by worldwide news provider, Reuters.

The news comes close behind an announcement by Honda Motor Co Ltd, to end production at a domestic factory by 2022.


“As Toyota begins to develop EVs for markets including China, Europe and the United States, they will likely focus on making models which can be sold both at home and abroad,” says Yoshiaki Kawano, manager of Japan/Korea vehicle sales forecasts at IHS Automotive.

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Record number of used-car dealers

A record number of dealers sold used cars last month, with 3,500 registered dealers – the highest number for the eighth month running.

Meanwhile, used-car transaction numbers grew moderately throughout the country –
up 1.6 per cent on the previous year to date.

New car sales were also higher than September 2016 by about 1.5 per cent. This was mainly caused by a large increase in the number of new vehicles sold into the rental vehicle market (23 per cent higher than last year).

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Steel scandal hits marques

Some of the world’s biggest car companies – including Toyota and Honda – have been rocked by an industrial scandal in Japan over falsified data relating to the strength and durability of aluminium used in the production of their vehicles.

Kobe Steel, one of Japan’s key metal producers, says its staff has falsified the strength and durability of metal products delivered to more than 200 companies. These include automotive manufacturers, aerospace companies and the space industry.

The company works with several other marques, such as Nissan, Mazda, Subaru, Ford, General Motors and Mitsubishi.

Kobe Steel says data had been falsified to make the metals look as if they reached quality standards. The false information has been linked back to four aluminium factories in Japan, and, for some items, the practice goes back about a decade, says Naoto Umehara, executive vice-president.

The company is now investigating the practice, but says so far there have been no safety concerns. Toyota has confirmed its use of aluminium with falsified strength and durability ratings in doors and other outer areas.

A spokesman says: “We are working to identify which models might be subject to this situation and what components were used. We recognise this breach of compliance principles on the part of a supplier is a grave issue.”

Honda has also stated it has used materials with false ratings in its doors and hoods, while Mazda and Mitsubishi are investigating if their vehicles are affected.

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