Alan Harman


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

SAIC’s V80 Draws Poor Safety Rating in Australia
The China-built V80 scores just 4.97 points out of a possible 16 in a frontal-offset crash test.
Young U.K. Drivers So-So on Safety, Advocates Say
The survey showed only 48% of drivers named safety one of their three main considerations when buying a car, along with reliability and fuel economy. Among drivers aged 17-24 just 37% named safety, while 39% chose brand.
Industry Group Cuts Thai Car-Sales Forecast Again 
The Federation of Thai Industries is cutting this year’s projection 5.9% to 800,000 units after lowering it last month to 850,000 from 950,000.
Nanogenerator Stores Energy When Rubber Meets Road 
The amount of energy saved can vary depending on the vehicle, but University of Wisconsin researcher Xudong Wang predicts about a 10.4% increase in the average vehicle’s gas mileage, given a 50% friction energy conversion efficiency.
Toyota Takes Sellers of Bogus Airbag Parts to Court 
The devices fit most of the 2 million Toyotas sold in Australia over the past 10 years. Toyota says tests found there are up to four ways the bogus part could fail to deploy an airbag in a crash.
Mazda Launches SkyActiv Transmission Production in Thailand
Annual production is set at 400,000 units, bringing global capacity for the transmissions to 1.54 million units.
Incentives Fail to Halt Russian LV-Sales Tailspin 
While first-half sales fell 36% from like-2014, July’s 27.5% decline reflected “mostly the low-base effect of a poor market showing in the corresponding period last year,” industry spokesman George Schreiber says.
Honda’s Thai Unit Sees 27% Jump in H1 Export Value
The automaker attributes the growth to increasing demand for its City model in Asia and Oceania and for its recently launched all-new HR-V CUV.
Electrification Generates U.K. Motorists’ Interest
Infrastructure provider ChargeMaster says more than 90% of electric-vehicle charging takes place at home while total charging volumes have soared 163% since 2014.
Toyota Oz Countering Spread of Counterfeit Airbags 
Toyota vehicles never involved in an accident are not affected by the bogus parts. But Toyotas repaired after an airbag deployment in a crash reportedly may have been fitted with fakes not tested to manufacturer standards.
Australia’s LV Market Rides SUVs to Record July 
An industry group says SUV deliveries rose 13.4% during July, the segment’s fourth record month of the year, and accounted for more than 35% of the new-car market.
July Sales Keep New Zealand on Pace for Record Year 
Toyota remained the overall market leader with 1,856 sales for an 18% share. Ford’s and GM Holden’s shares were 10% and 9%, respectively.
Toyota Thailand Denies Dodging Tariffs on Prius
The Japanese automaker is irate over allegations it claims to be importing parts for Prius manufacturing in Thailand when it really is bringing in completely built-up vehicles.
Former Infiniti Exec Joins VW
Michael Bartsch headed home to oversee VW Australia.
Ferrari 488 Snapped Up in Oz
The average age of Ferrari owners in Australia is decreasing and now is at 48 years old, an executive says, with demand accelerating as confidence levels rise among small-to-medium-sized business owners.
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