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.
Toyota reveals surprise HiLux EV
Forget about birthday cake, Toyota is celebrating 60 years in Thailand with a concept car pointing to an electric future for the HiLux.
The HiLux Revo BEV concept was revealed by Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda alongside the smaller IMV 0 concept.
“The unveiling of the all-new HiLux Revo BEV concept by our global president Akio Toyoda presents an exciting window into our commitment to achieve carbon neutrality across our vehicle range,” Toyota Australia vice president Sean Hanley said.
FULL STORY: Electric Toyota HiLux concept ‘confirms’ brand’s belief in EVs
Mercedes-AMG’s wholesale makeover
Mercedes-AMG, or AMG as it’s simply referred to, is a German tuning company that has been turning regular Mercedes-Benzes into performance cars since 1967. But the move away from using just internal combustion engines has required a complete change in the way it works.
“We not only had to develop the car, [but] we needed to transform the company,” AMG’s head development driving dynamics engineer Rene Szczepek told CarExpert at the launch of the new C63 S E Performance in Spain last month.
Mr Szczepek is referring to the way in which the Mercedes-AMG engineers had to change their working relationships, as development of all the vehicle’s components had to be done concurrently and with input from all teams.
FULL STORY: Mercedes-AMG had to ‘transform the company’ to build hybrid C63
Built Ford Tough… hopefully?
Ford Australia says it put the incoming F-150 through its paces over 135,000km of torturous durability tests here, ahead of the re-engineered truck’s local launch in 2023.
The USA’s top-selling vehicle will lob here in Australia in XLT and Lariat spec levels using a twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 (US outputs are 294kW and 680Nm) with a 10-speed auto, in short- and long-wheelbase body styles.
The Blue Oval brand’s Aussie outpost says test versions of the F-150 have now faced temperatures of between -40 and +50 degrees Celsius, trailer towing, mud, ultra-fine sand, water crossings, and corrosion tests.
FULL STORY: Ford F-150 undergoes RHD testing, thousands of Aussies lining up
BYD preps cheaper EV entrant
BYD‘s local distributor EVDirect has been delivering Atto 3 electric SUVs for more than three months now, and will soon introduce a smaller new model to rival the forthcoming MG 4 and GWM Ora Good Cat electric hatchbacks.
Luke Todd, CEO and managing director of EVDirect, has confirmed to CarExpert the BYD Dolphin will launch in Australia in the first half of 2023.
The exact date for when orders for the Dolphin open will be announced in February next year, according to Mr Todd. This follows Mr Todd saying in September this year the BYD Dolphin would go on sale locally either late 2022 or early 2023.
FULL STORY: BYD Dolphin EV hatch here in first half of 2023
Z demand marked an A+
The reborn Nissan Z Coupe has proven a hit with Aussie buyers, so much so that the brand’s local arm is struggling to supply demand to our market.
According to managing director Adam Paterson, the brand has a bank of 1200 undelivered orders for the new Z, having delivered just 84 units since the latest iteration of the iconic sports car launched earlier this year.
“We still have approximately 1200 customers with outstanding orders,” Mr Paterson told CarExpert.
FULL STORY: Nissan Z – 1200 orders to be delivered, wait times push 12 months
Buzz builds, but there’s a wait for this VW
The Volkswagen ID. Buzz and ID. Buzz Cargo are being targeted for a mid-2024 launch, with a right-hand drive example of each imported to Australia and shown to media in Sydney.
“We’re targeting to launch ID. Buzz and ID. Buzz Cargo in mid-2024. And our aim is to get start of production from the end of next year, [but] we’re still not officially confirmed as a market,” said Ryan Davies, director of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles in Australia.
“But what I can tell you is the reason we’ve got two cars here is that our headquarters determined that they wanted to send out some vehicles to what they call the most important international markets, and we’re one of them.”
FULL STORY: Volkswagen ID. Buzz and ID. Buzz Cargo firming for mid-2024 launch
More calls for CO2 targets
The Washington-based International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has joined a chorus of industry voices calling on Australia’s federal government to legislate fuel efficiency or CO2 emissions targets pronto.
The ICCT nonprofit research body said this week that by adopting emissions standards like those in the European Union, the US and New Zealand, Australia could “almost fully” decarbonise its light-duty vehicle (LDV) fleet by 2050, nearly in line with net zero targets.
Only a few major vehicle markets lack established compliance requirements for car CO2 emissions or fuel efficiency, and Australia is one. It’s regularly cited as a key reason why EVs and hybrids are in short supply, given such regulation acts as a pull factor.
FULL STORY: Australian fuel efficiency standards vital for CO2 cuts, US research finds
Mitsubishi calls for some economy honesty
Mitsubishi Australia, a leader in plug-in hybrids (PHEV), says it would like to see greater clarity around fuel consumption in these petrol-electric cars.
This means publishing more widely the fuel economy performance of a PHEV with a battery charge state of zero (displayed), as well as its economy with the battery in use.
The Outlander PHEV’s overall fuel efficiency according to the ADR 81/02 standardised test is 1.5 litres per 100km – more than three-times better than a Toyota RAV4 (non-plug-in) hybrid.
FULL STORY: Mitsubishi keen on more accurate PHEV fuel economy tests
Commodore designer climbs the GM ladder
Former Holden chief designer, Australian Mike Simcoe, has continued his march into the uppermost levels of management at General Motors (GM).
Starting January 1, Mr Simcoe will move into the role of senior vice-president, Global Design, having previously served as vice-president without the ‘senior’ tag attached.
The new title for GM’s head designer “signifies continued emphasis on design as GM accelerates transformation to an all-electric future”, the company told shareholders.
FULL STORY: Ex-Holden designer Simcoe promoted again, now GM senior VP
Boxy hybrid 4×4 arrives
GWM continues its rapid expansion into the Australian market, with the GWM Tank sub-brand about to arrive – where it will sell alongside the GWM Ute and various GWM Haval SUVs.
Its first model is the GWM Tank 300 Hybrid, a boxy ladder-frame 4×4 sharing some of its underpinnings with the GWM Ute, but using petrol-electric power.
Prices kick off at $55,990 drive-away and top out at $60,990 drive-away, making it GWM’s most expensive vehicle in Australia to date.
FULL STORY: GWM Tank 300 Hybrid 4×4 price: $55,990 drive-away
Born supremacy? New Euro EV priced
The first mainstream electric car from the Volkswagen Group in Australia will be priced below $60,000 before on-road costs when it touches down locally in March 2023.
The Cupra Born will kick off at $59,990 before on-road costs, equivalent to a drive-away price (before incentives) of around $63,000 depending on state.
That pricing puts it into direct competition with the best-selling Tesla Model 3 sedan ($65,500 before on-roads), plus the Nissan Leaf e+ ($61,490 before on-roads), Hyundai Kona Electric Extended Range ($60,500 before on-roads), and Kia Niro Electric S ($65,300).
FULL STORY: 2023 Cupra Born EV price and specs
JAC rollout, ute just phase one
Another Chinese brand is preparing to hit the Australian market in 2023, with dual-cab utes on the launch menu – both diesel and (shortly after) electric.
The company is called JAC Motors (full name Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group Co., Ltd), and is State-owned, based in Hefei, and trades on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
Little-known here, it sold more than 500,000 vehicles last year and claims to have exported more than 700,000 cars to 130 countries and regions in its history.
FULL STORY: China’s JAC plans Australian growth, pickups are just the start