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Archive for August, 2013

Extra Government Support For Australia's Car Industry…But…..


The FBT situation for Australia’s struggling local manufacturers hasn’t improved, even with the recent announcement of $200 million dollars going towards Ford, Holden and Toyota and a mere $7 million towards car suppliers, ignoring the areas that currently also needs assistance; the retail sector. The Victoria Automotive Chamber of Commerce has hit out against the Federal Government for ignoring the retail aspect, with brokers and suppliers feeling the backlash and laying off staff. VACC Executive Director David Purchase said “Our members are sick of so-called automotive industry discussions and decisions that fail to even consider the repair, service and retail sector. In this most recent example, the Federal Government has announced an automotive industry package, but failed to include the retail sector. The changes to the FBT system have hit car retailers hard and fast, with many experiencing cancelled orders and job losses. And yet, the Government’s response fails to even mention retailers, let alone compensate them.”FBT

Mr Purchase also says that it’s pleasing the manufacturing and parts supply partners will be getting support and adds that nationally there’s 100, 000 small businesses employing 320, 000 and turning over $208 billion dollars, a significant contribution. There’s a measure of frustration  as well, with Mr Purchase saying “Claims the FBT statutory formula produces a tax rort, that salary packaging companies have a business based only on a tax break, that only wealthy people take advantage of vehicle leasing or salary packaged cars, that the cars involved are luxury models and that the whole system needs cleaning up are all wrong. Clearly, the FBT changes are not about closing a tax loophole or tax rort. They are not about being even-handed. They are not about equity. The changes are all about raising revenue to fill serious budgetary holes and have been made without proper consultation and forethought.

Now that the election has been confirmed for September 7, it remains to be seen how much change will happen after that date and what damage to affected industries has been done.

Mazda's New i-Stop Here

Coming to that dreaded stop at the red traffic lights can be a flustering experience for most.  If the truth be told, and you’re anything like me, then you’ll never enjoy the red light experience, which is an invisible hand that reaches out and says, “No, no further,” for what seems like an indefinite time period.  It’s worst when you have to come to a halt in the night when there are few cars on the road and you end up waiting for at least a minute as you count zero cars crossing the T-intersection in front of you.  Just as well, then, that in the bid for making cars ever-more fuel efficient, there are systems like start/stop in a number of new cars which cut out the engine while you sit fuming at the time it takes you to wait for the red light to turn green again.  You personally are fuming – your car isn’t.  Mazda has a new type of system that fires the engine back up again a lot quicker and smoother than the conventional start/stop systems found in other autos.

It seems that car manufacturers are turning the heat back on fuel efficiency for being the main priority for selling cars.  It’s little wonder, as we see fuel prices continue to increase.  Stop/start or idle stop systems are becoming more common in cars.  They activate when a car comes to a halt, shutting down the engine and quickly restarting the engine again when the brake is released.  This saves the driver on fuel and is better on the environment… two great reasons why we should want something like this type of technology in our cars.


Mazda has designed and developed a unique system which it calls i-stop, and the system is part of the company’s very clever SkyActive technologies resources which it uses in all of its new cars.  Mazda’s i-stop system uses a “combustion start method” to ignite the engine again after a period of waiting at the lights.  Instead of using the starter motor alone to crank the engine, i-stop cleverly ensures that the cylinders stop in the optimum position to re-fire the engine back into life.  Direct injection then squirts fuel into the appropriate cylinder and ignites it, which forces the piston down to start the engine again.  Mazda’s i-stop still employs the starter motor; however, the i-stop system is easier on the starter motor and quicker than any other system on the market – particularly for diesel engines.  Mazda’s engines with i-stop technology take just 0.40 seconds to burst into life.  The experience is very quick and discreet, which adds to Mazda’s smooth, seamless operation.

Mazda’s i-stop technology has an information screen that shows the time the engine spends switched off when you’re driving from A to B.  If you do a lot of city driving, then the i-stop could end up revealing close to five hours of stoppage time every 10,000 km you travel.  Imagine how many litres of fuel will have been saved compared with a car that just sits idling at the lights in between the red and green cycles.  Now that gives drivers without stop/start technology even more to get frazzled about!

Baby Cayenne to launch at LA Autoshow

Spy shots of Porsche’s latest model, the Macan have hit the Internet, wetting the appetite of those in the market for a Mid-sized luxury SUV.

The baby brother of the ever popular Cayenne is set to take on the likes of the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Range Rover’s Evoque.

Landing in Australia in the third quarter of 2014 the Official launch of the Macan is slated for this year’s LA Autoshow. While specs and pricing are still yet to be confirmed, the general consensus is that the range will consist of a base model, a mid range – in both petrol and diesel and a top spec Macan Turbo.

The Porsche Macan, available in showrooms, 2014

The Porsche Macan, available in showrooms, 2014

Your new car is a better driver than you

Sit back and think, the average person owns a car for 5 years (give or take), now think of what technology you used 5 years ago.
iPhone? it was emerging as the must have gadget.
However If you went to a electronics store and asked for a tablet the sales person would speak slowly to you while ushering you towards the nearest chemist.
Back in 2009 , if some one told you they had an Android you’d look at them like they were some kind of crazy person who had watched too many sci-fi movies.

As with phones and mobile devices, user integration is an inevitable evolution of the motor car, in addition to having information at our disposal at all times. The downside is (if you can call it a downside), information is ever changing not just the content itself but its format too. 5 years ago upgrading the tech in your car meant replacing the radio, in the future it may just mean connecting your car to the Internet and downloading the latest upgrade.

Even the Commodore parks itself

Even the Commodore parks itself

It’s no longer science fiction that your car will know what’s going on around you before you do. GPS that will direct you around traffic snarls, systems that will tell you where the cheapest fuel is and how long until you need it, automatic transmissions that rely on satellites to know what types of road conditions are ahead of you and adjust accordingly. These are features on cars you can buy now!

I know what you’re thinking “all this is techno-wizardry is only on uber expensive European cars” that’s where you’d be wrong. The humble Holden Commodore now parks itself, don’t like the radio station playing in your Ford Focus? Simply ask the car to change the channel, even having adaptive cruise control on a sub-$50 000 car is not out of the question

The 2014 Mazda 3 interior was designed in partnership with a leading Psycologyst

The 2014 Mazda 3 interior was designed in partnership with a leading Psycologyst

The new 2014 Mazda 3 due early next year, has both the automotive world and tech industry buzzing. The reason? Mazda claim to have future proofed the 3. Working with Ergonomics Gurus, Tech Geeks and even Psychologists, Mazda developed all their new features to be upgradeable as the car ages, but be less distracting to the driver too.

The 3 will also have the potential to run identical operating systems and programs to your smartphone. Internet radio, Facebook and twitter will all be integrated into the system. Just like the smartphone industry though, it will be the independent developers who will create a whole new industry around the technology found in the next generation of cars.