Alan Harman


Alan writes about the auto industry in Australia and New Zealand, as well as other Asia/Pacific and emerging markets.

U.K. Car Production Posts 10.3% Improvement in Q1 
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders says each employee in automotive manufacturing last year generated on average £79,700 per car produced, up 1.3% from 2014 – the highest on record.
Sensor Technology Red-Flags Tire, Hose, Seal Failure 1
The technology uses a sensor that can predict up to two weeks in advance when a tire or hose is compromised and in danger of failing.
Owners, Insurers Deal With Defunct Defender Dilemma
A massive increase in Defender thefts has followed JLR’s January termination of the all-wheel-drive workhorse’s 67-year production run. Rural insurer NFU Mutual says more than 500 Defenders were stolen across the U.K. last year.
Volvo to Put Autonomous Vehicles Into Consumer Hands for Test
The Swedish automaker’s U.K.-based trial will differentiate itself by using families to drive the AD cars on public roads.
Slumping Car Demand Stalls March Sales in Thailand 
The March result left the Thai market’s first-quarter sales down 8.2% at 181,560 units. Car deliveries fell 26.6% to 57,973 units, while CVs edged up 4% to 123,857. The 1-ton pickup segment rose 6.9% to 99,313 units.
Nissan Bumps Micra, Pulsar From Oz Product Range
The affected models remain on sale in Nissan dealerships across Australia, with the remaining stock expected to sell out before year-end. The moves are limited to Australia and do not affect any other Nissan markets globally.
Oz Auto Industry Wary of Relaxed Car-Import Policy
Easing new-car import rules will give Australians greater choice, says consumer watchdog Roger Featherston, who dismisses claims buyers may end up with a vehicle that neither meets their needs nor can handle local driving conditions.
Diesels Fail Real-World Emissions Tests Across Board
Real-world testing conducted for the Department for Transport found none of 37 cars representing a cross-section of the U.K.’s top-selling diesel vehicles had nitrogen-oxide limits below European Union standards.
Mitsubishi Scandal Prompts Call for Emissions Testing in Oz
AAA CEO Michael Bradley says the revelation Mitsubishi falsified fuel-consumption data underscores the urgent need for the Australian government to fund or undertake independent testing.
Magic Mushrooms: Fungi May Help Make Better Batteries, Researchers Say 1
Purdue University says carbon fibers derived from a sustainable source – a type of wild mushroom modified with nanoparticles – outperform conventional graphite electrodes for lithium-ion batteries.
Malaysia Sales Drop as Buyers Rush to Beat Tax Hike 
New-car sales fell 27.3% to 43,247 units, while commercial-vehicle deliveries dropped 29.8% to 5,553. The result left first-quarter sales off 22.0% at 131,267 units with cars down 21.3% at 117,373 and CVs down 27.8% at 13,894.
U.K. Automakers Team to Fill Apprentice Pipeline 1
The idea behind the matching service is for the participating companies to collaborate to help candidates when their own apprenticeship programs are oversubscribed, not turn them away.
Malaysian Government Loan Bails Out Troubled Proton
International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed says the loan is conditional on Proton coming up with a business revival plan that includes seeking a strategic foreign partner.
Mazda Oz, Operating in Black, Adds Green HQ Building
The new purpose-built 5-star green HQ, as certified by the Green Building Council Australia, will house Mazda’s national and Victoria state headquarters as well as a state-of-the-art training center when it opens next month.
Power Surge: EVs Selling in Record Numbers in U.K.
Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders data show plug-in vehicle sales this year are on track to exceed last year’s record total, when more plug-ins were registered than the previous five years combined.


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