Category: Australia

By on July 26, 2017

2018 Honda CR-V three-row - Images: Honda AustraliaWith the launch of the seven-seat Honda CR-V in another ASEAN market, this time Australia, one wonders about the potential popularity of a three-row CR-V in the United States.

The Honda CR-V, America’s top-selling utility vehicle in each of the last five years, currently tops American Honda’s sales charts. The CR-V now accounts for more than one-quarter of Honda’s U.S. sales and generated more volume in the first half of 2017 than in any of the CR-V nameplates’s first 10 calendar years.

Broadening the already popular CR-V’s appeal sounds, at first glance, like an entirely reasonable plan.  Read More >

By on July 12, 2017

Mazda CX-8 interior - Image: MazdaThe Mazda CX-4 is essentially a more style-centric variant of the Mazda CX-5.

But you can’t have it. The Mazda CX-4 is for China alone.

The upcoming Mazda CX-8, meanwhile, straddles the middle ground between the CX-5 and CX-9: smaller than a CX-9, but still roomy enough to squeeze in a third row of seats, unlike the CX-5.

Our interest in the CX-8 was piqued when the right-hand-drive Mazda was seen parked on Chicago streets two months ago. But Mazda wouldn’t budge: this was no sign that the CX-8 was bound for America. Instead, the CX-8 is intended only to serve a purpose as Mazda’s large vehicle in Japan, where the CX-9 is too big.

It seems, however, that the Mazda CX-8 is destined for the export market after all. Read More >

By on June 27, 2017

Kangaroo sign Australia, Image: bluedeviation/Flickr

Who knew strange animals born with a sack stuck to their bellies would prove to be the largest hurdle in the advent of driverless vehicles? In areas where you’ll find marsupials, anyway.

While North American drivers have long grown used to smacking deer with their personal vehicles, it’s a different story in the land of Paul Hogan, Nicole Kidman, and the amiable fellow from Jurassic Park. A full 80 percent of vehicle-animal collisions on that extremely large island and/or continent involve a kangaroo. It now seems the manner in which the limber creatures get around has created a headache for a certain Scandinavian car company — one hoping to lead the industry in hands-off driving. Read More >

By on June 14, 2017

2017 Ford Mustang RHD Australia - Image: Ford Australia

Thanks to the appeal of a modern independent rear suspension and the availability of right-hand drive, the sixth-generation Ford Mustang has encountered far greater global appeal than any Mustang before it.

The latest country to take a real liking to the Mustang is Down Under, where Australians are buying more Mustangs than any other Ford save the Ranger.

And it’s a good thing they are. While U.S. sales of Mustang plunged 28 percent in the first five months of 2017, production at Mustang’s Flat Rock, Michigan, assembly plant hasn’t been forced to slow down nearly that much. Through the first-third of 2017, Ford built only 4-percent fewer Mustangs than in the same period last year.

Put another Mustang on the barbie, indeed. Read More >

By on January 11, 2017

2015 Chevrolet SS front

Unless your local police force harbors a crop of non-conformists, it’s easy to believe rear-drive Chevrolet sedans bowed out in the 1990s.

Of course, that’s not true. General Motor’s Australian Holden division saw fit to continue sending a limited number of rebadged Commodore sedans our way, long after the Impala and Caprice faded into the history books. Gussied up with a few tell-tale styling cues, the Commodore easily morphed into the performance-oriented Chevrolet SS and fleet-only Caprice PPV. Both models sell in limited numbers on this side of the Pacific, but not for long.

With Holden poised to pull the plug on Australian manufacturing later this year, the old-school Commodore has only months left to live. That means the exotic, badge-engineered American brothers will cease to exist after the 2017 model year.

Read More >

By on November 10, 2016

1973-Ford-Bronco-neg-CN6610-302 (1)

Even though Ford hasn’t confirmed it, we know a reborn Ford Bronco is on its way.

Long before a UAW rep spilled the beans about the manly model’s return, Bronco buffs were already giddy with anticipation. TTAC’s managing editor has hardly slept a wink.

Now, word comes that there is indeed a development team hard at work on the model (expected to appear sometime in 2018), but you won’t find them in the vast lands bordered by the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. Read More >

By on October 15, 2016

2016 Jeep Wrangler

After posting sales gains that most automakers would sell their souls for, Jeep’s skyrocketing climb hit the upper limits of the atmosphere in September, with sales dropping by 3 percent compared to the same month a year ago.

Maybe the Jeep brand isn’t bigger than Jesus. With the new vehicle market cooling off and two of its oldest — but still strong-selling — models being pared down to one, Jeep needs to branch out to keep the momentum going.

It has products up its sleeve — a Wrangler pickup and $140,000 luxo-ute to name a couple — and has factories planned for developing nations everywhere, but Jeep could reap a sales reward if it stopped screwing up in one obvious but overlooked market. Read More >

By on October 7, 2016

Falcon (Five Starr Photos/Flickr)

It’s a sad day in Australia as Ford Motor Company closes the door on 91 years of domestic vehicle production.

Some 600 Ford employees are now out of work after the automaker shut down factories in Melbourne and Geelong. This marks not just the end of Australian Ford production, but the death of a long-running nameplate. Read More >

By on September 7, 2016

4-sept-frypan-wheel-adelaide

Anything that happens in Australia is already sort of funny, because we all remember the Simpsons episode where the Aussie locals play knifey-spoony and Homer salutes the toilet.

Well, from the land of Midnight Oil, Nicole Kidman and the defunct Ford Falcon Ute comes this story, thanks to Jalopnik, the South Australia Police, and a man who wouldn’t let a missing steering wheel end his motoring dreams. Read More >

By on August 22, 2016

2015-ford-falcon-xr6-ute_100480760_h

Every country has its linguistic eccentricities. The Brits continue to call transport trucks “lorries” (and then there’s all that “boot” and “bonnet” stuff), while other locales adopt their own unique terminology for the same object or thing.

The first-generation Buick LaCrosse was sold as the Allure in Canada because “lacrosse” is Quebecois slang for something to which an entire Seinfeld episode is dedicated.

Australia is no different, but many people Down Under aren’t happy with a new term that is creeping into the country’s vernacular: “truck.” Read More >

By on July 29, 2016

2016 Ford Falcon ute

There’s sad news from Down Under. No, Paul Hogan is still alive, and no, dingoes didn’t get into a local kindergarten.

The last Ford Falcon Ute rolled off the assembly line in the Melbourne suburb of Broadmeadows today, ending 55 years of continuous production, Car Advice reports. The death of the FG X Falcon Ute heralds the looming demise of Australian Ford assembly, and leaves just one (doomed) ute in the marketplace of the country that invented it. Read More >

By on July 22, 2016

Isuzu D-Max

Update: Automotive News is reporting General Motors is now focusing “on the higher end of the market while the Japanese firm sticks to selling vehicles for everyday commercial purposes,” strongly hinting that GM is the one that broke off the collaboration. We’ve added detail below.

After announcing a new bromance with Mazda just over a week ago, Isuzu is calling it quits with its old beau General Motors.

(Or maybe GM caught Isuzu cheating behind its back. Who knows? The relationship dynamics at play between automakers are difficult to flesh out.)

Regardless, midsize trucks — badged as both Isuzus and Chevrolets — will be no more in the Land of Smiles. The duo, which has a truck plant each in Thailand, will decouple their R&D efforts as they move toward engineering new global midsize pickups.

Read More >

By on July 21, 2016

BMW pickup

If you’ve ever though the backseat and trunk in your 3 Series would be a perfect place to put a long, flat cargo space for hauling dirtbikes, start planning a move to Australia.

According to Motoring, the German automaker is considering fielding a pickup variant Down Under — a move once thought impossible, but now looks much more likely, thanks to Bimmer’s rival. Read More >

By on July 13, 2016

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA)

As U.S. customers await the unannounced Santa Cruz-like sort-of ute they’ve been promised for some time, Australia is getting traction from Hyundai on a genuine midsize pickup.

Following much lobbying from down under, Hyundai Australia’s chief operating officer Scott Grant told Car Advice that company brass in South Korea are slowly coming into agreement on the need for a bona fide pickup, but fans will have to be patient. Read More >

By on July 9, 2016

Driving Matters Mazda6 Times Square Mesh Board South, Image: Mazda USA

Our own Timothy Cain was smitten after spending a week with the midsize Mazda6. It’s a hard vehicle to hate. With its sexy, sculpted sheetmetal, it’s one of those cars you turn back to look at after you park it.

But the Mazda6, even with its willing chassis and sporting demeanor, is still missing many ingredients, one of them power. Call it the Miata Effect, or simply realize that Mazda doesn’t have its own V6 to stuff under the Mazda6’s long hood. Mazda’s midsize sedan isn’t nearly close to the most powerful option in the segment.

That may change though thanks to the Mazda CX-9 and its 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

Read More >

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