Alan Harman


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

Thai Market Nearing Bottom 
Household debt and uncertainty over wages continues to keep many buyers out of new-vehicle showrooms, analysts say.
JLR Engine Plant Already Expanding
In just 12 months, the West Midlands-based facility has moved from prototype production to full-scale manufacturing of more than 50,000 engines a year. The center builds the low-emissions Ingenium 2.0L diesel 4-cyl.
U.K. Arm Proposes Scheme to Get Diesels Off Roads
Tens of thousands premature deaths are linked to illegal levels of air pollution from vehicles, a government official says, with diesels seen as a primary culprit.
U.K. Output at Decade-Long High 
In total, 1,318,452 new vehicles rolled off U.K. production lines in the first 10 months, the best performance since 2005 and up 2.8% year-to-date.
Toyota Australia Links Bogus Parts to Online Dealer 
Toyota says the recall involves counterfeit brake pads sold by online supplier Westend Spares between June 2013 and October 2015. The fakes were found to contain asbestos, a cancer-causing substance.
Malaysia New-Vehicle Sales Climb 2.9% in October 
The Malaysian Automotive Assn. expects this month’s sales volume to stay at the same level as October, as consumers seek to beat expected price increases in 2016 and automakers run aggressive promotional campaigns.
Open Oz Roads to Self-Driving Cars, Volvo Exec Says
“I am confident that within three or four years we can have cars with autonomous-drive features being driven on prescribed roads if state governments change their laws to accommodate them,” Volvo Australian chief Kevin McCann says.
Hyundai Optimistic About Thai Economic Recovery 
With Hyundai’s Bangkok assembly plant having closed due to low sales, the automaker’s presence in Thailand involves only the marketing of imports such as the H1 minivan, Elantra sedan and Santa Fe multipurpose vehicle.
Australia Offers Green-Vehicle Incentives to Fleet Buyers
To be eligible for the low-interest loans, fleet customers must buy vehicles that meet a carbon-dioxide-emissions threshold 20% below the most recently published Australian averages for new passenger and light-commercial vehicles.
U.K. Motorists Fret Most About Distracted Driving 
Those surveyed say use of text messaging and social media while driving are the two biggest threats to their personal safety, with 93% and 92%, respectively, claiming these to be a “very or somewhat serious” threat.
Test Facility Puts Honda on Track to Boost Thai R&D
Honda’s second automobile test course outside Japan will feature a range of tracks to allow the automaker to test vehicles in situations that simulate road conditions and terrain in different parts of the world.
German Supplier Eyes Japan OEMs From New Thai Plant 
The TrelleborgVibracoustic site manufactures engine mounts, chassis mounts and body mounts for local customers such as Ford, GM, Nissan and Volvo, and plans to be producing for export by 2018.
Red October for Light-Vehicle Deliveries in Russia 
Hyundai’s Solaris took over as Russia’s top-selling model, falling a relatively modest 10.0% to 9,507 units and displacing the longtime market leader Lada Granta, which backslid 44.6% to 9,308.
U.K. Car-Sharing Club Growing Renault Zoe EV Fleet 
The club says it chose the Zoe over other EVs because the 5-door hatchback is easy to use and ideal for members who have not driven an electric car before.
Oz Strategy Seeks Cleaner, More Fuel-Efficient Cars 
Governmental agencies will examine issues including adoption of Euro 6 emissions and fuel-quality standards, fuel-efficiency measures for light vehicles and emissions testing for vehicles conforming to international procedures.

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