Alan Harman


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

Singapore to Deploy Driverless Vehicles at Ports
The Ministry of Transport will test “truck platooning” technology for moving containers between port terminals. A truck with a driver will be followed by a convoy of three or four driverless vehicles.
August U.K. Car Output Up 40.6%: CV Builds Up 70.3% 
“August’s strong growth wasn’t unexpected given the 22.1% fall in the same month last year when the 2014 holiday period fell,” Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders CEO Mike Hawes says.
Ford Investing £181 Million in Wales Engine Plant
The Bridgend facility has received a total £1.8 billion investment since it opened in 1980. It builds 4-, 6- and 8-cyl. engines at a rate of 3,400 units a day, or one every 24 seconds off the busiest line.
VW Scandal Threatens U.K. Fleet Operators’ Trust
A key issue for U.K. fleet operators is trust. With responsibility for 2.3 million car registrations, they are among the market’s most influential buyers. They rely on automakers’ claims when making purchase decisions.
Outlook Stays Dim for Thai New-Vehicle Market 
Low farm prices, shrinking private investment, stricter approvals for hire-purchase financing and slow budget disbursement by the government continue to pressure new-car sales.
Malaysia August Light-Vehicle Sales, Output Rise 
The August result left year-to-date sales down 2.3% at 434,282 units with the car segment off 2.2% at 386,471 and CV sales down 3% at 47,811.
GM Holden Saves Best for Last With Commodore VFII
The Commodore VFII is intended to lead the automaker through the next two years until its manufacturing plant closes and Holden ends 107 years of car production by becoming purely an importer.
Survey Warns Car Retailers Against Child Neglect 
“If one of the kids doesn’t like the shape or color of your next car, or it doesn’t come with plug-in for an iPad, then you’d better be prepared for some serious pestering,” Auto Trader spokesman Nathan Coe cautions dealers.
JLR Academy to Sharpen Focus on Employee Training
The academy will offer training for employees, whether they are new recruits or experienced employees seeking to move to the next level. This ranges from engineering skills-enhancement programs to postgraduate qualifications.
Rubber-From-Dandelion Research Gets Rolling Again 
The joint project by Sumitomo and Kultevat represents the latest attempt to manufacture rubber derived from dandelions.
Russia’s LV Sales Slump Decelerates in August 
The Association of European Businesses Automobile Manufacturers Committee says the result was an improvement on July’s 27.5% tumble and left the year-to-date total down 33.5% at 1,051,851 units.
U.K. Extends Subsidies for EV, PHEV Purchases
The subsidy reduces the cost of EVs and PHEVs with carbon-dioxide emissions of 75g/km or less by 35%, up to a maximum £5,000 ($7,695). Sales after six months of 2015 surpassed the full-year 2014 total.
New Zealand LV Sales Up Double Digits in August
New-car sales had their strongest August since 1986, jumping 9.4% year-on-year to 7,752 units. Toyota outsold second- and third-place Mazda and GM Holden combined.
Oz August Sales Rise With Another Lift From SUVs 
“Sales of SUVs increased 19.4% on August 2014 figures, with a large part of that growth in the small-SUV segment, where sales increased by 51.3%,” industry spokesman Tony Weber says.
Land Rover Researchers Envision Blindspot Removal
Feeds from the towing vehicle’s surround-camera system are combined to create live video images that make the trailer appear see-through in the vehicle’s rearview mirror.
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