Alan Harman


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

New Thai Plant Mazda’s Second Global Production Base 
“The parent company plans to use the Thai factory as the global blueprint, with 60% of production serving the domestic market and the rest for export,” Mazda Thailand President Hidesuke Takesue says.
Thai Auto Sales Fail to Gain Traction in November 
A Toyota executive says while December traditionally has been the country’s best-selling month of the year, he is not expecting a sharp turnaround from last month’s negative result.
Bosch Australia Moves Ahead With Reverse-Gear Safety 
The system combines the vehicle’s brakes with radar and an ultrasonic sensor to automatically stop the vehicle if an object is detected when reversing.
Malaysia Sales Up in November; Automakers Cautious on 2015 Prospects 
Uncertainties over the impact of the 6% goods and services tax next April 1, rising living costs and bleak global economic outlook, as well as a weakening ringgit, is tempering the market outlook for next year.
U.K. Project Will Ease Drivers Into Driverless Cars 
Testing will begin with single vehicles on closed roads with the goal of making U.K. road users, as well as legislators, police and insurance companies, confident about how driverless pods and fully and partially self-driving cars can operate safely.
U.K.’s November LV Output Slips Below Break-Even 
Car production for the U.K. market jumped 31.8%, but the overall November result dipped into negative territory thanks to a 6.2% drop in builds for export.
Costs Down, So Subaru Australia Cuts Prices 
A more favorable exchange rate, pending free-trade agreement and manufacturing efficiency gains have enabled the automaker to slash stickers up to 12.8%.
Raise Bar on London Clean-Air Plan, Automakers Say 
Citing rapid progress in clean-diesel technology, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders is asking Transport for London to enforce the same emissions standards for gasoline and diesel vehicles.
Small-Car Policy Driving Industry Growth in Malaysia
The National Automotive Policy aims to promote the creation of a competitive automotive industry in terms of employment, technology development and supply-chain improvement.
Oz Automakers, Independent Shops in Truce on Vehicle Repairs 
The new pact follows a Treasury Dept. review that found no evidence of consumers would be hurt by broader access to service and repair information in the automotive industry.
Ford Australia Profiling Potential Mustang Buyers 
The pre-ordering system allows Australian dealerships to capture details of potential Mustang buyers. It also will help dealers identify customers who may have been drawn by the new car but are more likely to choose another Ford model.
Research Finds New Dimension in Fuel-Cell Efficiency 
The discovery makes monolayers of graphene, and its sister material boron nitride, attractive for possible uses as proton-conducting membranes, which are at the heart of modern fuel-cell technology.
Thai Government Offers Encouragement to Automakers 
Industry Minister Chakramon Phasukvanich says upcoming excise-tax changes will lower retail prices of eco-cars and hybrids. The new tax will be based on carbon-dioxide emissions, E-85 compatibility and fuel efficiency instead of engine size.
Ford, GM Holden Woo Oz Buyers as Production Era Ends 
The core of Ford’s transformation is its dealerships’ evolution with modern customer trends, while GM Holden’s new Customer Council is designed to facilitate direct feedback on the automaker’s products and customer service.
Study Touts Value of U.K. Vehicle Rental, Leasing 
The industry-funded study claims the sector generates about £5.2 billion in annual tax revenue and supports total employment equivalent of one in every 88 workers in the U.K.
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