Archive for December, 2013
As Dave has already mentioned in his post about making sure you keep aware of driving safety this Christmas, I thought I would echo this by reiterating the issue of drinking and driving this New Year’s Eve.
New Year’s Eve is a joyous time – we all have our own hopes, ambitions and dreams for the coming year – but it must also be borne in mind that some people have these hopes and ambitions taken away from them in the most unfair and brutal way. It doesn’t need me to tell you, but it pays to be safe on the roads this New Year’s Eve. Here are 5 ways to can make sure you stay safe.
Designate a Driver
This is an obvious one and many people hammer home the importance of this – but I’m going to say it again anyway…make sure if you’re going to somewhere you need to drive to someone drives and doesn’t drink! You’ll have to go some to repay a favour…but even paying to hire in a private driver beats the possible outcomes at the end of the night if you do get in the car after drinking
Take a Taxi
Of course between a fair few of you, taking a taxi is the easiest option and often works out far cheaper than driving. Everywhere in Australia has a fantastic array of taxi companies but they’ll be busy over New Year…make sure you book one NOW!
Don’t be Distracted
There are lots of ways to be distracted while driving during the festive season, but New Year’s is an especially exciting time in which it’s easy to be caught up the party atmosphere. If you do have to drive, be aware of others and their associated sense of inebriation.
Although here at Private Fleet we’ll always fly the flag for car ownership, if you’re going somewhere closeby why don’t you just walk? Staggering home in the early hours of the morning is far preferable to staggering to a car….
Drive a Roadworthy Car
Don’t be the one during the New Year who gets in a second rate, and frankly downright dangerous car, and think ‘I’m not going far, it’ll be okay!’ Bear in mind that police presence is always at a heightened state during Christmas, and with more people on the roads you need to be in a car you’re comfortable driving. Check your lights, tyres and other associated safety items. the New Year is not a time you want to be called up and fined for something easily fixable. For more information on this, check out our post on easy ways to keep your car safe and retain your certificate of roadworthiness
From everyone here, we all hope you have a fantastic festive season and a wonderful New Year. Please, be safe on the roads and sensible in your travelling endeavours. Be sober, be sensible and don’t be distracted. Many people know the sadness of losing a family member this time of year. Don’t be a statistic.
Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the land
Not a road remained drive-able
Not even for a van
I am indeed writing this on Christmas Eve in the United Kingdom. As a child I of course found myself dreaming of a White Christmas, before coming to the abrupt realisation that I lived in a land of dull dreary drizzle filled misery. The chance of me waking up to a snow filled Christmas is about as likely as me getting a date with the Australian beauty that is Rose Byrne. I am perfectly aware however that as my brain cells translate the chemical thought patterns into physical movement that causes written words that the Australian Christmas is a highly different affair to that of which I am used to. As the great man Tim Minchin doth speak, you Australians will be…
“…Drinking White Wine In The Sun”
And as such I thought it necessary to set forth unto the world a story of a very British Christmas 2013. I am not sure if the British weather is worthy of Australian news, but if this is not the case, let me fill you in. For the last few months, the usual miserable British weather has let loose a storm of rage unto our nation. Usually it is the case that the weather is wet and overcast, but just enough for the old biddies of the UK to moan and groan at their daily bus stop meet ups. However this year this mild moist-ness has turned into storms of epic proportions. Well, when I say epic, I am not comparing these to the real storms that occur across the rest of the world. But for Britain, pounding rain and howling wind is enough to bring the country to a grinding halt.
We find ourselves on the eve of Christmas eve and the whole country has been warned of imminent stormy conditions. As the night arrives my attempt at sleeping is ruined by the battering of the rain upon my window and the power of the wind smashing the glass from nearby garden houses.
Christmas Eve arrived, and my eyes were opened to the horror that lay before me. Chances are you have been wondering how I was going to bring this very British rant into a car based discussion. Well, let me put it this way, my Christmas Eve driving experience was so much more complex and terrifying than ever before. It is not often that you find yourself driving along, singing along to another Christmas classic, you take the corner…
“When the snowman brings th- FALLEN TREE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD!”
Trust me, it will be at number one next Christmas. I am just beyond glad that the brakes on my car have been kept in good condition that stopping was not an issue. While I am on that point, it is always a help to know the best way to deal with emergency stops in soaking conditions. When learning to drive, we are often tested on our emergency stops by slamming our feet on the brake. Have any of you ever tried doing that on a soaking road? Well here is a little lesson in friction; you do that and you will find yourself sliding at basically the same speed you had been going at originally. Oh, and you probably will have no control of the direction your car takes either.
What is the trick you ask? Well, remain calm and do not panic. You do not want to lock the brakes and start a slide. What you do want to do is slowly but firmly apply the brake. Not everyone would do the same thing, but my advice would be to repeat the previous step numerous times. In my previous experience it reduces the probability of sliding and it will bring you to a stop in a smooth and uneventful manner.
Speaking of rain covered sadness, the amount of rain that had fallen on my fair land had resulted in my drive being blocked by a flooded road. The funny thing is, the reason my local town had flooded is because the local council had decided to use the floodplain of the river to build new houses on. And yet after doing that seemed so shocked when excess water had NO WHERE TO GO APART FROM FLOOD THEIR TOWN. Dearie me, the genius of some people…
I must say though high speed (ish) driving through large puddles is so much fun. If you find yourself on an empty bit of road faced with a large body of water blocking your path, you know what to do. Trust me, you will not regret it!
It just remains for me to say, that I hope you have a Happy Christmas and it brings you all the happiness that you all deserve.
Let us raise a glass to another year of fantastic motoring! And thank you so much for this opportunity to be part of the Private Fleet family!
Merry Christmas Everyone!
Follow me on Twitter @lewisglynn69
Peace and Love!
I’m sure my fellow bloggers will add their own wishes for Private Fleet members and their loved ones; for me it’s been an honour to have been asked to part of the Private Fleet family. Coming from a background of service, sales and the automotive field, it seems an ideal fit to be able to contribute and I thank all of you for your affirmation of that.
Although Christmas is meant to be a time of happiness and cheers,it’s all too easy for it to be a time of hurt and tragedy on the roads. The police and governments quite rightly sometimes cop a backhander for their apparent heavy handed approach to road safety, however it is a situation where every day needless events on our roads result in lifelong sadness for families. For those that are intending to do a drive over the next few days, please be the one that is sober. Please be the one that is driving a roadworthy car. Please be the one that DOESN’T have your mp3 player’s headphones in your ears. Please be the one that observes the speed limits and with areas that have had some rain, plan ahead by checking the forecast and drive to the conditions. Please be the one that brings their family to loved ones safely and return them home.
On behalf of the management, staff and all associated with Private Fleet, from my family to yours, a very Merry Christmas.
Yup, Christmas, the time of year that has people looking at the Great Christmas Drive. From our bases in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Canberra, Ballarat, Kalgoorlie and everywhere in between, we load up the car with gifts and the family and head out onto the roads. But how much preparation do we do before we go? Here’s a small checklist…
These black, round, rubber things tend to get the least love yet are the sole reason a car can roll along a road. Tyre pressures are important; these should be checked before any long drive and when the tyre itself is cold. The right pressures are printed on a placard stuck somewhere on your car, generally inside where the doors close. Under inflation can lead to premature wear on the outside of the tyres while over inflation can have the centre of the tread wearing. The tread itself is important with a minimum depth required in order to squeeze out any water you may drive through. Also, there are products that can be sprayed onto the sidewalls of the tyres that keep them clean and the rubber nourished, so it doesn’t dry out and leading to cracking. A bit like moisturiser…
This is the box that sits in front of the engine that has pipes attached to said donk and circulates fluid through itself and the engine. The whole idea is to try and keep the engine cool on the road….water is great but there is a fluid called coolant; it’s green, not very good to drink but fantastic at working its way through the radiator and engine to keep it cool. The radiator itself needs to be without leaks and it may be worth getting a good quality flushing agent to try and clear out any junk or goop that’s accumulated in the system.
Pretty simple this one; an engine needs oil to spin without overheating from friction and going boom. There’ll be a stick on the side of the engine that, when pulled out, should be coated on some of its length, with a translucent liquid. This, dear reader,is clean oil. If it comes out black and maybe a bit smelly, this is not a good thing. Clean oil helps things spin smoothly and can help in better fuel consumption; any oil change will need a change of oil filter as well. Depending on your car and mechanical aptitude you may be able to do this at home but always check the new filter is tightened sufficiently before adding new oil, otherwise your garage floor could become a lovely slip’n’slide.
Headlights and Indicators.
Contrary to popular thinking, it is actually against the law to not use your indicators. These handy little lights at each corner of your car do one thing well when used; they tell other road users which change of direction you’re about to undertake. However, when used sometimes the bulbs go pop and need replacing. A good indication (no pun intended) of one needing a swapout is the noise we hear inside the cabin. Normally a measured tick tick tick, the noise may instead sound like a clock gone mad, as the system is designed to let you know somethings wrong by sounding wrong. Headlights, depending on the age (and make) of the car, have no audible signal but may display a warning on the dash. Some of the bulbs are easy to change but do visit your local auto sparky if unsure. It’s pretty simple to check your headlights to see if they’re working; turn them on at night…
It’s almost inconceivable but once upon a time horseless buggies didn’t have buttons we could push to keep us cool on a sweltering summer’s day. As we trundle along, windows up and the fan pushing air around, there’s a compressor in the engine bay that has a certain gas inside that makes the air cool. After some years that gas becomes inefficient or may have leaked out and cold air doesn’t happen. Although it may seem expensive to get the system regassed initially, it’s a once off cost that can keep you chilled for years to come.
Yup, those little bits (well, not so little…) of glass that surround us can make a big difference to how we see the road. Of particular importance is the big one in front of us; keep that clean and it reduces glare and sunlight scatter which can impede a driver’s vision. In the engine bay (and in new cars clearly marked with a colourful cap and icon) is the reservoir full of water and cleaning agent. If this is empty it’s not merely a matter of filling it with plain water, the cleaning agent helps break up dirt, dust and any bugs that may decide to get close and personal with your windscreen. Automotive retail stores should have a range of suitable products. Also, there’s not much wrong with a spraybottle and a microfibre cloth to give them a rubdown. If the window is clean but looks like the surface of the moon thanks to years of tiny impacts from dirt and stones, it’s time to consider having the screen replaced.
Yup, the bits of cloth or leather we rest our bums on need some TLC too. Leather is prone to drying out and cracking so some decent moisturising will keep it soft and supple, whilst cloth is easy to vacuum, keeping dirt and food scraps from digging in and wearing the material. Plus, on a hot day, it may be worth considering keeping towels in the boot to not burn your bum and make it easier to pick up a hot seatbelt.
Drive To Survive.
You, the driver, are the one that’s in control. News reports that say “the car went out of control” forget that the car isn’t driving itself, it has a human behind the steering wheel with a foot on the go pedal. Stay hydrated, don’t put your iPod headphones in your ears, look not just ahead but regularly check your mirrors, take a five or ten minute break every couple of hours, have a bag of lollies to nibble on and listen out for road and weather conditions.
Have a safe Christmas and New Year’s!
Tis the season to be jolly, tra la la la la, la la la… Wait a second.
Christmas is just around the corner, and yet the news I bring you is neither festive nor jolly. It has been announced that General Motors is to stop the production of motor cars in Australia as of 2017. Holden has been an established brand in Australia for the last 65 years. Where the manufacturing may be shipping out to other lands, GM have said that they will retain a sales and parts distribution division in the country.
So what are the reasons behind this announcement? But more importantly, what are the consequences?
Let’s begin with the explanation…
In a statement provided by General Motors, they said, “The decision to end manufacturing in Australia reflects the perfect storm of negative influences the automotive industry faces in the country”. Australia is facing an exponentially growing crisis in the motoring sector. For some time, car makers have been struggling despite subsidies given to the industry by the government. The help may have been flooding in from the government, but despite all of this the drought continues. As a result, serious talks are taking place as to whether the government should abandon the car industry altogether.
But wait, why is the car industry struggling?
In many ways, it is through the strength of the Australian economy that the car manufacturers are deciding to leave. For example, the Australian dollar has raised 30% against the US Dollar in the last few years. Following this, the domestic market in Australia is small which means that companies are left competing for what is after all a very small share. I am no expert on economics or marketing, but with a small domestic market, it can only mean small growth. Not only this, with the small market, one of the only ways to make any form of end money is to demand high manufacturing costs. Hardly very attractive for big business really now is it?
As a result, over the last 30 years, the number of cars produced in Australia has more than halved.
What does this all mean for the future of the car industry in Australia?
In short, it casts a catastrophic spell of destruction.
This whole debacle could indeed be the trigger that releases a deadly chain reaction of events that could bring about a sticky end to the Australian motoring industry. As it is, most of the cars sold in Australia are imported from across the world. This announcement from GM follows that made by Ford in May which stated that it would cease production in 2016. With Ford and Holden all but disappearing into the sands of time, this leaves Toyota as the sole manufacturer in Australia.
But come on on now, considering all this economic malarkey and the end of GM and Ford, it can only be a matter of time before Toyota follow a similar path. If the worst does indeed happen, with the suffering of the motoring industry comes the suffering of those who are involved with it. It has been estimated that over 50,000 jobs could be lost. That is never a number to be ignored.
Finally, with a current weak Japanese currency which makes exporting cars from Japan a lot cheaper, twinned with the fact that the Australian dollar is so strong could just be the icing on the cake of ultimate death and destruction. Rest in peace? Maybe.
So is there anything that can be done?
The current problem is that as with any economic issue that sweeps over a country, the reply is always to make the government “take steps for the future”. The problem I have with this is that it is more often that not an empty phrase. From my experience when these vacuous phrases begin to be thrown around, the next step is well… nothing. Nothing happens and then the infected area declines into nothingness. The sad fact of the matter is, that steps do need to be made. But the steps themselves need to be made a lot more clear.
If Australia wants to retain a manufacturing centre, then it needs a complete reinvention. The Australian economy needs a new image that will attract new business. I am going to be honest, I do not know enough about this kind of thing to offer a detailed answer. LEt’s be honest, if I could do that, I probably would be in a massively high paying job and be famous as the saviour of Australian motoring. However, I like to think outside the box. And as such I would like to draw your attention to the V8 Supercars.
It is one of the worlds top motorsport series, but with a little more pushing and development, I see it indirectly bringing about more business to Australia. I mean, Silverstone is the home of F1 and there are countless teams that base their manufacturing in the UK as a result of this. What the V8s need is a full on world series that brings the influence of the sport to countries across the world, especially all those rich western countries like the UK and the US. Show the majesty of Australia and see the results.
This post may have started negatively, but I do see that there is hope for the Australian car industry, it just may take some time that is all. But as they say, good things come to those who wait.
Keep Driving People!
Follow me on Twitter @lewisglynn69
Peace and Love!
Around the world there are various forms of motorsport that are homegrown; NASCAR in the USA, the British Touring Car Championship and here in Oz we have the V8 Supercars. Of recent times the broadcast element of the category has been hosted by the Seven Network and not to universal acclaim. Not that long ago, after much to-ing and fro-ing, a two year deal was signed, for 2013 and 2014. The dollars on offer weren’t that much, in the greater scheme of things at “just” 18 million per year. Today (18 December 2013) it was announced that the rights to broadcast the Supercars would be taken up by the Ten Network and in alliance with Foxtel, Australia’s primary pay television group.
It’s a deal worth around $241 million and spread over six years, allowing the category management some much needed certainty in their negotiations with teams in regards to divvying up income. The breakup is said to be $45 million in advertising and a huge $196 million in just plain dollars. It’s an interesting situation with Foxtel broadcasting more useful content in high definition that the free to air networks have so far and with their main motorsport channel, Speed, being shown in both HD and SD,alongside Ten and ONE, it’s an incentive for those that haven’t already got a full HD tv or the HD package from Foxtel to do so. Timing wise is interesting as Foxtel are due to release the new IQ3 set op box/hard drive recorder with extra functionality and a bigger hard drive than IQ2 in early 2014.
More in the world of entertainment and motorsport and tv with the return of the Top Gear Festival to Sydney in early March 2014. On track hosting duties fall to Shane Jacobson, Steve Pizzati, James May and Jeremy Clarkson with the addition of V8 Supercar driver Craig Lowndes. There’s some decent format changes to the event, including the opening round of the Porsche GT3 category, (I wouldn’t be surprised if Mark Webber shows up in some capacity); his replacement at Red Bull F1 Racing, Daniel Ricciardo, will be attempting to break Mark’s lap record and a tribute to one of the most highly regarded Formula 1 drivers ever, the late Ayrton Senna. His championship winning McLaren car will be flown over and his nephew, the talented Bruno Senna, should be in attendance. As the incumbent circuit commentator for Sydney Motorsport Park, I and my co-anchor, John McCoy-Lancaster, will be working alongside the main BBC crew and a local production company holding the show together.
Just a month after this will be a first time event for the circuit, with Ferrari adding its weight to entertaining the south east Asian region by bringing to Sydney Motorsport Park their Ferrari Racing Days. This is scheduled for 11-14 April and will feature the second round of the Ferrari APAC Challenge, hundreds of privately owned Ferraris and five Ferrari Formula 1 cars. Numbers of vehicles are yet to be confirmed however there is talk of over four hundred cars taking part in the event.
It’s a lot of hard work behind the scenes that the NSW Government and the operating board of SMP have done to secure these events; details for the Ferrari event including ticketing will be available soon whilst the Top Gear Festival has already proved itself to be immensely popular. More information can be found here: http://www.topgearfestivalsydney.com.au/
My fellow-blogger Lewis has written eloquently on the war between what he calls Full-Time Drivers and Part-Time Drivers. If you haven’t read his post, http://blog.privatefleet.com.au/home/part-time-drivers/, please do so. But in a nutshell, he seems to state that Part-Time Drivers (those who consider their car primarily as a means of getting from A to B and only drive when they have to) have a tendency to drive and park like idiots. Well, I happen to fit the basic definition of a part-time driver who considers driving a means to an end, and I am moved to speak up on the behalf of those like me.
At the outset, I thoroughly agree with Lewis about the irritation of drivers who seem to live in a little bubble that co-exists with the bodyframe of the car. I also see red when somebody takes up multiple car parks, double-parks outside the school, drives slowly in the fast lane and texts while driving. However, not all part-timers drive like this. I will, however, freely admit that I am not a perfect parker, but this leads me to search for a spot I can get the car in and out of easily even if this means I have to walk a bit further. As an aside, it does seem that the civil engineers who designed some parking areas drive little hatchbacks, as even the full-time driver I am married to thinks that they’re a bit narrow for the family Ford Fairlane even when parked with pinpoint precision. If there’s an SUV in the next space that’s even slightly off-centre, considerable care is needed to avoid damaging its paintwork while getting out of the car.
Part-time drivers may be part-time for a number of reasons. We may be concerned for our own health and thus walk or bike for a bit of extra exercise. We may want to cut down on our environmental footprints. Or we may have a look at the price of petrol and wince. Or we may be quite happy to surrender the wheel to the full-time drivers in our lives. And – contrary to what the label “Sunday Driver” suggests – we have other hobbies in our lives and would rather not spend our spare time sitting on our backsides. Alternatively, if we cruise around just for the fun of it, we may prefer to do so on two wheels.
However, part-time drivers do not hate their cars. Nor is it the case that we don’t give a tinker’s cuss about what we drive. We select our cars with great care – good looks and raw power alone won’t impress us. We also look at practicality (Will the surfboard fit in the boot? Will this car be able to tow the caravan?), safety, economy and our creature comforts. We are not totally devoid of aesthetics and will shun a vehicle that is plug-ugly. Some of us also use a vehicle as an expression of our social status/pay packet (although we’ve all heard about the multi-millionaires who get about in second-hand Toyota Corollas). And yes, we will personalise our cars with seat covers, bumper stickers and so forth. In fact, there is little to distinguish us from the full-time driver in this respect, except that the full-timer is more likely to be attracted to a little sports car. Although not always – some take the attitude that even if you only use a car to get from A to B, you may as well do it in style.
Part-time drivers also get a bit annoyed at some of the things full-time drivers do. It is the full-timer, rather than the part-time driver, who will charge from lane to lane, trying to overtake everything that moves as if the simplest trip to the supermarket was a race. It’s the full-timer who is more likely to speed “because this car is built for it and needs to go fast” and give you the heebie-jeebies when they barrel around corners just to put the handling through its paces. And could you call those annoying boy racers (and girl racers) who keep certain neighbourhoods awake at night with screeching tyres and amplified exhausts anything other than full-time drivers?
And, on the human side of things, we part-timers get rather annoyed at the way emotion and attachment is lavished by full-timers on something that is, fundamentally, a machine that cannot love you back or even recognise you. And we sympathise with Shania Twain’s sentiments:
You’re one of those guys who likes to shine his machine
You make me take off my shoes before you let me get in
I can’t believe you kiss your car good night
C’mon baby tell me – you must be jokin’, right!
Oh, you think you’re special
Oh, you think you’re something else
Okay, so you’ve got a car
That don’t impress me much
So you got the moves but have you got the touch
Don’t get me wrong, yeah I think you’re alright
But that won’t keep me warm in the middle of the night
There are countless things that can trip us up on the roads. From tax to the increase of fuel prices, it may sometimes feel like you need help to navigate your way through the minefield that is driving regulation. Australia is no different for other developed countries in they way we deal with road safety – and we have some of the best statistics in the world in terms of car safety. If your Certificate of Roadworthiness is due for renewing, here are 5 easy self-checks you can carry out ensure your car stays in perfect condition. But first….
What is the Certificate of Roadworthiness?
The Certificate of Roadworthiness is a check of the vehicle to ensure the major safety related items in the car are up to scratch.
Our page on roadworthiness certificates gives you a clear definition of what needs to be checked and how to go about doing so.
What Needs to be Monitored?
It must be remembered that the Certificate of Roadworthiness is not a check on the general condition or wear and tear of your vehicle – and often it’s only carried out periodically or when there is a change of ownership. There are some things you can do to make sure your Certificate of Roadworthiness is nothing to worry about…
Tires should be changed based on a visual check, but bear in mind that rubber can perish and you need to monitor your tire usage to ensure you changing them at regular intervals. Be sure also to check the condition of your spare tire.
Check for Corrosion
The structural integrity of your vehicle will be checked during the examination for your Certificate of Roadworthiness. Pay close attention to the underside of your car and the sills, wings and doors…check for any unusual signs of wear and make sure you
Make Sure you Have Screenwash!
Small things such as screenwash and the quality of your wipers will be checked during the test for the certificate of roadworthiness, so make sure they’re up to date. It saves a lot of hassle if you check before and get it topped up with screen wash solution…be sure also to check other small items in the car such as certain fixtures and fittings.
Are All the Bulbs Working?
It seems silly to fail a certificate of roadworthiness test in Australia for the sake of a few dollars to buy a new bulb. Even on modern vehicles bulbs fail regularly, so it goes without saying that you’ll need to keep up to date with all lights both external and internal to make sure your call flies through its certificate check.
Contact Private Fleet today if you would like more information about your Certificate of Roadworthiness or any aspect of car maintenance. Additionally, if you are interested in , we offer a comprehensive solution and a way of working which is guaranteed to get you the best deals around.
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Many of my posts can be quite high on the old word count, but this one I will keep short and sweet. I have been yet again delving into recent news and I have come across some rather curious updates from the motor sport world. It has come to my attention that some individuals have started down a dangerous path. They have ignored the road signs for logic, level headedness and maintaining the essence of motor sport and turned onto ‘Insanity Highway’ which passes through the city of Cockyville and descends into the famous Slam-Your-Head-Against-A-Wall tunnel.
The first of these pieces of new comes from Formula One, which is just my utter favourite form of motor sport ever… Yes…Really… Anyway, news has reached my ears that the governing body of F1 have announced that the final round of the motor sport will offer double points in the championship. One can only imagine that it is an attempt by the sport to stop the domination that has been the case by Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel and bring back the competitive aspect. What a great idea, I mean while they’re at it why don’t they make in mandatory for all drivers during pit stops to jump out the car, perform the macarena while reciting a monologue from Shakespeare. I am sorry but it just seems completely and utterly ridiculous to me. Has the sport really got to this point where they are having to try and force competition and good television. Next they might even try to extract blood from a stone. It would be just as stupid as the final round of any league based sport offering double points. It is no different to any of the other rounds. And as many of the drivers have pointed out, it is punishing the drivers who have done well across the season.
I am aware that other regulation changes are to be made. But seriously, if you want to make the sport more competitive, you need to address it at the basic level. If you want the sport to be a commercial success, maybe it is time to bring about changes to this massive focus on tyres, fuel and general pit strategy. If you want to make F1 more entertaining to watch, one must address the racing itself and look at ways to make EACH ROUND more competitive.
Some suggestions could be to introduce a reverse grid start to some rounds, while also offering points for qualifying to save drivers setting purposely bad times to make sure they remain at the front of the grid. On top of that, the reverse grid can be random and chosen only on race day to add an element of unknown. Further suggestions would be appreciated!
And now to move on…
The BTCC used to be one of the worlds top touring car championships. And then with the regulation changes in the early 00s the sport came tumbling down into terrible-ness. And over the last few years it has found itself recovering, with the number of entrants increasing by the year, and the racing getting closer. However, one of the massive problems that is still plaguing the sport is the lack of manufacturers. The manufacturers that are there are clearly have a much larger budget and better technology, as has been seen by the last season dictatorship by Honda and MG. This brings me onto the news that I have discovered. The Honda team have announced their 2014 car. And well… there is not really any other way I can say this so just have a look at the picture for yourself..
Your eyes are not deceiving you. That is indeed a Honda Civic Estate that has greeted your vision. It is an insult to my eyes. If my eyes could throw up, now may be the time that it will happen. The Honda team have said that they wanted to add a new challenge into the mix in next years championship. Is it just me or is that statement just filled with blood curdling arrogance? Honda have been the Red Bull of the BTCC for the last few years. They know too well that they are the dominant team and it would seem that it is now getting to their heads a little bit. I really do hope that the team suffers next year and it gives chances to other teams to compete for the title. Chances are this will just hand MG the title on a plate. This move by the Honda team might imply a sense of hierarchy in the BTCC, which may break apart the lovely family feel of the sport.
Come on Honda. Don’t become THAT GUY.
Until next time my lovely readers,
If you have any comments please feel free to contact me on Twitter @lewisglynn69
Keep Driving People!
Peace and Love!
For a bloke raised with the great triumvirate of car makers of Chrysler, Ford and General Motors-Holden, in the late ’60s and early ’70s, the news on a day that numerologists were salivating about (11/12/13) came as expected but still deeply unwelcome to me. The once great company, known as Holden, will be ceasing manufacturing in 2017. Just a few months after its also once great rival, Ford Australia, announced the same news, the unwanted confirmation was announced mid afternoon.
Sadly, it appears to be a combination of factors but a situation that will keep conspiracy theorists happy for a while. What is known: GM honcho Dan Akerman, a self confessed “non car guy”, advised Aussie boss Mike Devereux by phone just hours after Devereux said there still was no decision. In the statement to the press by Devereux is this: “The unfortunate fact is that as I stand here today, GM already has all the information it needs to know that our Next Gen business case is not viable.” And: ” We have looked at every possible option to build the Next Gen products here in Australia. But no matter which way we applied the numbers, the long-term business case is simply not viable.” Within the statement is no mention of lack of support financially from the Federal Government, however it’s this potentially vital point that will be debated for the next few years.
Whether or not the Labor Party’s proposal to fund around $150 million per year for the foreseeable future would have worked tied in with what could justifiably be seen, in some areas, as an unnecessary delay by the Federal Government, would have worked has now been rendered a moot point. What is undoubted is the closure of the engine plant in Port Melbourne (Victoria) with the loss of 1300 jobs, the body manufacturing plant in Elizabeth (South Australia) with 1600 positions to go plus the world renowned proving grounds at Lang Lang, Victoria. There will be a retention of a Global Design Studio plus staff enough to manage the transition from a manufacturing base to a sales and marketing company.
In a recent interview, when asked about the secrets to his success and the transformation of General Motors, Mr Akerson said: “Fundamentally I’ve got to run a business that’s gonna turn profits.” This isn’t surprising, given the financial mess the American Big 3 found themselves in recently. However it’s this statement that, at its heart, provides the reason behind the decision: it’s business. However the reason for the rot goes back a long way. Some say it was Holden’s reluctance, along with Ford, to move with demand and provide the vehicles the market and therefore, the public wanted. Akerman said: “It was a perfect storm of negative influences which include the sustained strength of the Australian dollar, high cost of production, small domestic market and arguably the most competitive and fragmented auto market in the world”. Others say the high cost of living in Australia, the required amount of wages conspiring with a shift to a demand for smaller cars (and, some will argue, better quality) and SUVs alike up against the cost of manufacturing and the unsustainable losses on each Australian built car, are to do with the end result.
From here, there’s an economic cost,with figures of around $21 billion being thrown around. There’s the human cost, not just the 2900 or so workers directly affected but those in associated automotive industries, the suppliers and parts manufacturers, to the car and courier and truck drivers plus local businesses that depended on the workers spending their dollars with them, such as the humble sandwich bar and local pubs where workers may go for a frothy after a shift.
With a large range of cars available to cater for all parts of the market, Holden certainly ticks the boxes for diversity; the Commodore (enjoying a sales resurgence and, somewhat ironically, getting rave reviews in the US), the Malibu, Cruze, Colorado, Barina and Trax but with just the Commodore built almost start to finish here whilst the Cruze is assembled here, the costs to build were being swamped by the relatively low sales numbers in a market comparatively miniscule on a world scale.
Sadly, regardless of the debate, it’s a done decision and unless something truly miraculous happens, come 2016 and 2017, where the two separate manufacturing plants finally close, there’ll be many a tear shed, no doubt a few choice words directed at politicians but finally, the doors will close and Holden, after a long and chequered history as a manufacturer, kicking off with the fabled 48-215 through to the iconic catchphrase of “football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars”, down to the classy VF Commodore, will be lion down.