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.
Tortuous Toyota wait times remain
Toyota has just celebrated another dominant year in Australia, recording its greatest number of deliveries in 14 years and experiencing all-time high demand levels.
However, it also remains a victim of its own success, with said demand and ongoing production headaches yielding years-long wait times on some of its most popular nameplates.
Aside from the LandCruiser 70, orders for which remain closed, the worst affected models remain the RAV4 and Camry (hybrids specifically), and the LandCruiser 300 Series.
FULL STORY: Toyota RAV4, LandCruiser and Camry – latest wait times
BMW to distance itself from distractions
The proliferation of minimalist car interiors with key functions buried in touchscreen menus has long been a bit of a bugbear of ours at CarExpert.
It appears the boss of BMW, Oliver Zipse, agrees.
“Driver distraction is the main source of accidents, not fast driving,” Mr Zipse was reported as saying at a media briefing during CES 2023. “… If you have to look down to operate your car, we think it’s a big mistake.”
FULL STORY: BMW to banish big, distracting interior screens?
Volvo’s EV-only future taking shape already
Volvo Australia hit something of a tipping point in December 2022, selling more pure EVs than internal combustion vehicles for the month.
This is in the context of a brand that plans to be all-electric in Australia from 2026.
Of the 980 vehicles Volvo sold in December, 536 were BEV, which is equal to about 55 per cent of the total. These sales comprised 327 units of the XC40 Recharge and 209 of the C40.
FULL STORY: Volvo sold more EVs than ICE cars in Australia last month
Longer… in relative terms
Suzuki has used the Delhi motor show to reveal the long-anticipated Jimny 5-Door, a more practical version of its iconic mountain goat 4×4.
At 3985mm long, the Jimny 5-Door is 340mm longer than the regular model, while the 2590mm wheelbase on the ladder frame grows by the same. Ground clearance is a claimed 210mm.
There are no changes to the drivetrain to handle the added bulk, with the current 1.5-litre petrol carrying over – mated to a part-time 4×4 system with low-range, and available with five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission choices.
FULL STORY: Suzuki Jimny 5-Door revealed, confirmed for Australia – UPDATE
Great Wall sprawl beyond China
Great Wall Motor (GWM) sold a million-plus cars in 2022 – its seventh year in a row to do so – but unlike previous years its volume outside of China accounted for almost 20 per cent of its total.
The rapidly proliferating carmaker from Baoding sold a claimed 173,180 cars last year in “overseas markets”, from its GWM Pickup, Haval, Ora, Tank and Wey brands. That’s up 21 per cent year-on-year.
Cumulative exports outside of China have now topped one million units, the company claims.
FULL STORY: GWM sold another million cars last year, 170,000 outside China
Citroen goes against common wisdom again
Citroen’s CEO thinks SUVs are on the way out as electric vehicles proliferate through automakers’ line-ups.
Vincent Cobée’s remarks to Auto Express come with a couple of disclaimers, however: one, he concedes that at the moment the “numbers are not telling me I’m right”, and two, he envisages a market where there are more vehicles marketed as SUVs, but which resemble high-riding sedans.
Citroen has a limited number of SUVs, offering only the C3 Aircross and C5 Aircross, with the new C4 and its booted C4 X counterpart also marketed as SUVs. Cobée expects more rakish, fastback-style SUVs to become more common due to the aerodynamic benefits they bring – something particularly crucial for electric vehicles.
FULL STORY: Citroen CEO says “the world of SUVs is done”
Nissan sticks with the old
Nissan Australia has shut down prospects of the Patrol 4×4 receiving a raft of interior and tech enhancements seen in left-hand drive markets, instead “focusing on enhanced capability”.
Speaking with CarExpert, Nissan Australia’s managing director Adam Paterson indicated the next big thing for the Patrol nameplate is the upcoming Warrior – a locally developed off-road performance variant it’s working on with Premcar, due before year’s end at the earliest.
“We had an update to the current Patrol with some exterior changes in model-year 2021. Our next big news with Patrol is the Warrior which will launch in the back end of the second half [of 2023],” Mr Paterson said.
FULL STORY: Nissan Patrol’s upgraded interior still not for RHD
Polestar defends leather’s green credentials
Leather has long been considered a luxurious appointment for car interior materials, but in recent times there’s been something of a push towards more “sustainable” approaches to trim choices in cars.
Some car brands have been marketing fake leather, or leather-like vinyl trim options, as “vegan” leather in a push to appeal to those who might feel as though their car should do its bit for the environment or climate change, or maybe just because the customer themselves may not be into eating meat, or supporting the farming of animals to be killed for materials.
However, according to electric car brand Polestar, leather is more sustainable than you might think.
FULL STORY: Why leather is more sustainable for car interiors than you might think
Luxury bragging rights determined
The world’s three biggest luxury car brands – BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi – had similar results in 2022, recording small drops in deliveries but big growth from electric vehicles.
Additionally all three reported big gains from their most expensive and high-performance offerings – each prioritising limited semiconductors for their most profitable products.
In terms of bragging rights, Munich-based BMW edged out its rivals from Stuttgart and Ingolstadt when it came to overall volumes.
FULL STORY: BMW v Mercedes v Audi: 2022 global luxury sales breakdowns
Popular PHEV’s update pending
Australia’s biggest-selling plug-in hybrid of 2022, the MG HS Plus EV mid-sized SUV, will receive some updates during the second half of 2023, the brand has confirmed.
With 1554 sales in 2022, the HS Plus EV derivative accounted for some 14 per cent of overall MG HS sales last year. Its next closest competitor was the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross on 926.
You can expect the upgraded HS Plus EV to be more or less the same as the facelifted vehicle already sold in the Thai market, which launched in March 2022.
FULL STORY: Australia’s best-selling PHEV will be updated in 2023
Stellantis Dodges tuners
Ever since Dodge unveiled the Charger Daytona SRT concept, enthusiasts have been wondering if the company will allow aftermarket tuning of its EVs.
Well, now we know the answer, and you might want to take a seat and have a warm cuppa ready.
Talking to Muscle Cars and Trucks, Tim Kuniskis, Dodge’s CEO, said: “We don’t want to lock the cars and say you can’t modify them. We just want to lock them and say modify them through us so that we know that it’s done right.”
FULL STORY: Dodge will lock out aftermarket tuners from EV
MG going back to its roots
MG’s first electric sports car has been spied testing ahead of an expected reveal this year.
Spy photos published by Xcar and Weibo user EnricGu show the MG Cyberster’s slinky body, tight overhangs and fabric roof.
Leaked patent images of the production model appeared early in 2022 though, notably, the front overhang of the spied example appears shorter than in these images and closer to the initial concept.
FULL STORY: MG Cyberster electric roadster spied