Alan Harman


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

Yeast Used in Sake Production Could Brew Biofuel
The U.K. research team says its findings could help create biofuel that is more environmentally friendly and ethically sound than other sources because it would make use of waste products.
U.K. Extends Low-Emissions Plug-In Van Discounts 
The scheme provides businesses that purchase the vans with tax incentives, including exemption from vehicle-excise duty and congestion charges in London.
Politics, Economy Stall Thailand’s Eco-Car Program  1
The country’s prime minister says the government must ensure the eco-car program’s second phase does not repeat the failure of the first-time new-car-buyer incentive, which created artificial demand that contributed to raising household debt.
Thai Auto Sales Stay Stuck in Economic Doldrums 
A Toyota executive says February’s results were impacted by a rural drought that is cutting production and income and impacting farmers’ decisions on new-vehicle purchases.
JLR Investment in U.K. Plant Supports New Jaguar XF 
JLR CEO Ralf Speth says the Castle Bromwich investment marks a turnaround for the company’s West Midlands manufacturing operations which were earmarked for consolidation during the height of the global economic downturn.
Toyota Malaysia Assembling Camry Hybrid Locally
Contract assembler ASSB will operate and manage the line producing three variants, the Camry 2.5 hybrid, Camry 2.0G and Camry 2.0E.
GM Reshuffle Reflects Thai Auto Industry’s Struggles 
Despite its prolonged sales slump, industry analyst Jessada Thongpak says Thailand will remain ASEAN’s largest automotive hub because its technology and capability to meet global standards is years ahead of second-ranked Indonesia’s.
Malaysia February Sales Stall Ahead of Tax Change 
Automakers expect sales to edge higher in March as dealers make offers aimed at clearing stock before a 6% goods and services tax takes effect April 1. It replaces a 10% vehicle sales tax.
Ford Hikes Output as Falcons Fly Out of Oz Showrooms 
Described as a future classic, the Falcon XR8 is being praised for the work the Australian-based engineering team has done to deliver its ride, handling and stopping power.
Political Turmoil Slows U.K. Car Build for Export 
Despite steadily growing production for the U.K. market, industry spokesman Mike Hawes says, “political instability abroad has hit certain export areas which will invariably have a small impact on total output.”
JLR Sets 2017 Target for Opening of New R&D Center
The joint-venture advanced research center ultimately is expected to house 600 JLR employees. The project comes at a time when the automaker is riding high, with 50 product actions planned over the next five years.
Online Presence Extends Dealers’ Reach, Survey Shows 
The survey revealed just 24% of desktop users, 18% of tablet searchers and 36% of smartphone users say they are most likely to search between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. when dealers’ doors typically are open.
Suppliers Along for Ride As U.K. Auto Output Rises 
Vehicle manufacturing in the U.K. is undergoing a renaissance. Production has increased more than 50% since 2009 and this is creating new opportunities for domestic suppliers.
Tie Auto Rules to High Tech, U.K. Safety Group Asks 
“The government must do more to prepare for a transition period where manual, semi-autonomous and driverless vehicles will share U.K. roads,” says Louise Ellman, chairwoman of Parliament’s Transport Committee.
Aussie Motorists Chasing Glamor Look North to Japan
Roy Morgan Research finds four of the five most popular makes of sports cars, coupes and 2-door convertibles in the country are Japanese. Among their 326,000 owners, 11.1% drive a Mitsubishi, followed by Toyota, BMW, Nissan and Mazda.
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