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.
Mazda tweaks its cheapest model
The Mazda 2 is close to a decade old but there’s no sign of a replacement, with the Japanese brand instead giving the light car another facelift.
It will go on sale in Australia in June 2023, with deliveries beginning in July.
Pricing will be announced closer to launch, but Mazda says the local 2 range will continue to comprise Pure, Pure SP, Evolve and GT variants. Currently, the GT is the only trim to still offer the choice of a sedan.
FULL STORY: 2023 Mazda 2 facelift revealed, Australian deliveries begin in July
Genesis convertible flagship confirmed
The Genesis brand is reportedly set to get its first convertible.
Automotive News reports the Korean luxury brand will introduce a production version of the Genesis X Convertible concept, revealed at last year’s Los Angeles motor show.
American Genesis dealer Peter Lanzavecchia, also chairman of the Genesis National Dealer Advisory Council, said Genesis chief creative officer Luc Donckerwolke confirmed the model at an annual dealer meeting.
FULL STORY: Genesis X Convertible concept entering production – report
Audi’s pickup concept… of sorts
The fourth member of Audi’s forward-looking ‘Sphere’ series of concept cars is an off-road-capable electric crossover reliant on augmented reality controls.
The five-metre long (4.98m to be specific) Activesphere has the silhouette of a luxury four-door coupe but the height and wheels of an off-roader. Perhaps this is the future of traditional sleek luxury cars?
Additionally the rear hatch area can turn into an open cargo bed – Audi calls it the “active back” – at the touch of a button, making it a potentially fascinating addition to Audi’s Allroad range.
FULL STORY: Audi Activesphere concept is a coupe-pickup with AR tech
Kia’s answer to the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid nears
No, that’s not a typo. Kia Australia is finally bringing the Sportage Hybrid (or HEV) to Australia, and it’s likely to arrive early next year.
Speaking with CarExpert, Kia’s local boss for product planning, Roland Rivero, confirmed production of local models will commence in South Korea during the fourth quarter of 2023 ahead of a sales launch early in 2024.
That timeline aligns with Kia’s typical pattern of introducing new models at the Australian Open tennis grand slam, of which the Korean brand is the official partner and recently extended its contract until 2028.
FULL STORY: Kia Sportage Hybrid finally confirmed for Australia, coming 2024
Porsche recreates an icon
Legendary brand Porsche was born as we know it in 1948, when the 356 No. 1 Roadster earned its general operating permit.
The company has now given itself something of a birthday present with the Porsche Vision 357, a design study and homage that brings the 356’s “monolithic form into the present day”.
It also gives some clues as to what we might expect from future Porsche sports cars, though the Vision 357 is strictly a concept “liberated from the regulations that apply for implementation as a series model”.
FULL STORY: Porsche Vision 357 design concept reinterprets an icon
Polestar 2 update has Tesla Model 3 in mind
Single-motor variants of the Polestar 2 electric liftback are set to switch from front-wheel drive (FWD) to rear-wheel drive RWD) as part of a newly announced update.
Polestar today detailed a number of changes for its Tesla Model 3 rival, including new electric motor setups and batteries bringing more power and range, tweaked exterior styling, and additional standard features. While not confirmed, we also expect some price increases.
Australian customers will be able to order a 2024 Polestar 2 in the second quarter of 2023 through the Polestar Australia website. First deliveries are expected in the third quarter of this year.
FULL STORY: Polestar 2 moves to RWD, in Australia from Q3
Used car price normality to resume?
Australian wholesale new vehicle prices have fallen 12 per cent from their peak in May 2022, as normality returns to the wider supply chain and demand for pre-loved cars cools.
The Q4 Used Vehicle Price Report found used car prices have now decreased for seven successive months, and in January 2023 they had their first year-on-year decline since May of 2020.
Moreover, used car prices are expected to continue returning to earth during 2023 as new car supply improves, and demand weakens on the back of higher borrowing costs and inflation.
FULL STORY: Used cars continue to get cheaper, new research finds
Bent-eight burbles on
The world is going electric, but the old-fashioned V8 isn’t dead just yet. Just ask General Motors.
The group’s sixth-generation small-block V8 engine will be built in Flint, Michigan, using components made in Michigan, Ohio, and New York on the back of an US$854 million (A$1.2b) investment announced this week.
When it comes into service, the engine will feature in “full-size truck and SUV” models. What role it’ll play in the sports car space is less clear, given the Corvette E-Ray demonstrates a clear intention to electrify GM icons.
FULL STORY: General Motors invests $1.2b in keeping the V8 alive
Akio exits as Toyota CEO
Akio Toyoda, grandson of the car maker’s founder, and one of the most colourful automotive bosses in Japan’s recent history is stepping aside as CEO of Toyota.
He will be replaced as president and CEO on April 1, 2023 by Koji Sato, who is currently the head of both Lexus and Gazoo Racing. Sato will remain in charge of the luxury and sports brands after becoming the company’s boss.
Sato has been with Toyota since he graduated Waseda University in 1992 with a mechanical engineering degree.
FULL STORY: Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda steps down, replaced by Lexus and GR boss
Badass BMW M3 CS emerges
BMW has revealed the more hardcore – lighter, stiffer and more powerful – M3 CS flagship sedan ahead of its world premiere this weekend at the 24 Hours of Daytona.
As we’ve come to expect the M3 CS gets an upgraded inline-six, retuned chassis, and extensive use of carbon-fibre to make it badder than its siblings. It shares much in common with the BMW M4 CSL revealed last May, only it offers a more practical interior and all-wheel drive instead of rear-wheel drive.
It’ll be in Australia in limited numbers from the second half of 2023, costing $249,900 before on-road costs.
FULL STORY: 2024 BMW M3 CS revealed
Ferrari pitches its take on EV noise enhancer
Electric vehicles are known for being quiet and Ferraris aren’t. The Prancing Horse brand’s upcoming EVs could, however, offer a distinctive soundtrack audible to both occupants and passers-by.
In a filing with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) found by CarBuzz, Ferrari has patented a system that will “allow the driver and the passengers to enjoy, inside the passenger compartment, a quality sound which… is very pleasant for them”.
Ferrari filed the patent in the US on January 5, 2023, around six months after filing a patent in Italy.
FULL STORY: Ferrari patents “engine noise” for EVs
Hyundai’s DCT recalled over potential power loss
Hyundai Australia has issued a recall for 8466 vehicles across several model lines, over an issue with the eight-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) where drivers may experience a sudden loss of power.
“Software logic for ‘fail-safe’ driving conditions was not set up to correctly respond when certain transmission oil pump faults are detected in the dual clutch transmission,” the company says in its recall notice.
“Loss of motive power while driving at high speed could increase the risk of a crash. This could potentially result in injury or death to vehicle occupants and other road users.”
FULL STORY: Hyundai Australia recalls thousands of vehicles over DCT fault
Volvo skeptical about driverless car timelines
Fully self-driving cars won’t manifest for a long time yet even as the technology side of things matures, says current Volvo global chief Jim Rowan.
He also called the current system of classifying self-driving cars into five levels ‘nonsense’, and said unsubstantiated claims around driverless vehicle development no longer inflate share value as they did a few years ago.
The Scotland-born CEO of Volvo Cars (and former head of Dyson) was in Melbourne last week as part of a visit to far-flung regions of his business, and gave some time to local media.
FULL STORY: Volvo boss says autonomous cars a ‘long way off’, and people know it
Australia a big deal for Chery, again
Chinese company Chery is due to return here in the coming months, initially with the Omoda 5 small SUV before a more broad-scale product rollout intensifies in the coming 12 months.
And – no pressure or anything – the entire organisation is pinning its hopes on the company’s local success and future product planning.
The car-maker has a history of playing in developing markets, traditionally offering low-cost models that were basic in terms of features, engineering quality and also trading safety inclusions for a cheaper price tag.
FULL STORY: Chery says Australia a focal point, with priority supply – here’s why