MarketPlace

Tricky tech jacks up GLE

AUG 2018

Tricky tech jacks up GLE

Mercedes-Benz revealed its next-gen GLE SUV ahead of the Paris Motor Show, built on the companyís MHA (Modular High Architecture) that will also underpin the second-generation GLS SUV thatís due to be unveiled at the LA show in November. Headlining the new-generation GLEís features list is the 48-volt air dampers, which take Benzís active suspension tech and adds the capability to control pitch and squat movements as well as roll. The 2020 GLE will be powered by a family of 2.9-litre turbo diesels, and a 3.0-litre turbocharged petrol inline-six.

HIGHLIGHTS The fact August 2018 was the total marketís second-best August total in eight years indicates market resilience in the face of economic uncertainty around factors such as drought in eastern regions and declining residental property values, as well as Federal political instability. Small, medium and large SUVs did most of the heavy lifting, climbing 8.3 percent to 41,271 units. SUVs as a whole now account for 42.8 percent of the total market YTD. Despite this, it was passenger cars on the podium ahead of SUV sales, topped only by light commercials Ė the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger respectively Ė in the total market.

LOWLIGHTS: Compared with 2017ís record August, monthly sales were down 1.5 percent and YTD sales also dropped 0.3 percent below a recordsetting tally for 2018. Passenger cars fell 13.4 percent to 30,940 units and light commercials fell 1.9 percent to total 19,165 units compared with August 2017.

Iceman out of the red

One of the most loved characters in the F1 paddock has lost his drive with Ferrari. Kimi Raikkonen will ditch the red race suit next year, with The Iceman signed to Sauber for the 2019/20 seasons. His replacement is 20-year-old Charles Leclerc, who is the first graduate of Ferrariís Young Driver Academy and a former GP3 and F2 champion. Itís understood the late Sergio Marchionne signed off on Leclercís promotion. The Monegasque native will be the second-youngest driver in Scuderia history, following Mexican hot shoe Ricardo Rodriguez, who raced in F1 from 1961-62.

Incoming

OCTOBER-NOVEMBER

ASTON MARTIN Vantage and DB11 Volante; AUDI A7; BMW i8 facelift and i8 Roadster; FORD Focus, Mustang Bullitt and Everest update; HYUNDAI Ioniq hybrid, plug-in hybrid and EV; JAGUAR F-Pace upgrade and SVR; KIA Cerato hatch and GT; LAND ROVER Range Rover P400e plug-in hybrid; PORSCHE 911 GT3 RS; SKODA Fabia facelift; SSANGYONG Musso, Rexton and Tivoli

DECEMBER-JANUARY

ALFA ROMEO Stelvio QV; ASTON MARTIN DB11 AMR; AUDI Q8 and RS5 Sportback; BENTLEY Continental GT coupe; GENESIS G70 and G80 sedans; HOLDEN Acadia; HYUNDAI Veloster and Kona EV; JAGUAR I-Pace; JEEP Wrangler; LEXUS CT200h update; MERCEDES-BENZ C63 AMG update and X350d 4MATIC; SUZUKI Vitara Series II

Ford Focus

Fordís fourth-gen Focus is set to usher in a return of the dynamic greatness that made the original the darling of the UK motoring press, when the new compact Blue Oval arrives in November. Equally importantly in todayís ultracompetitive small-car landscape, the all-new Focus brings the model up to date in terms of safety and infotainment technology. With Ford fifth on the sales charts and without a model in the top 20 as we write, the brand needs a sales star, and the Focus (with help from a hitherto unseen brilliant Ford marketing campaign) could be that car. Led by the lively, charming, efficient turbo three-pot version, the Focus might just have the measure of Corolla, Mazda 3 and i30.

Hyundai Ioniq

Hyundaiís three-pronged Ioniq eco-car line-up is due in November. The compact liftback opens with the Ioniq hybrid, which is a 1.6-litre petrol + 32kW electric motor-driven gateway drug to the Ioniq plug-in Hybrid, which can operate in pure electric mode for trips of up to 50km, according to Hyundai. The zero-emission Ioniq Electric is for serious electron users and is powered by an 88kW motor fed by a 28kWh battery and has a claimed range of 280km. Itís expected to lob with a sub-Prius opening price below $35K.

Ssangyong Musso

Ssangyong is set to make a return to the Australian market with not only a new Musso dual-cab ute, but a Rexton large SUV and a Tivoli small SUV (the latter in both standard and stretched XLV forms), covering bases in three of the countryís best-selling segments in one fell swoop. Early reports suggest these are not class-leaders, yet at the right price they could be a hit in their respective segments, among value-conscious buyers. Pricing is yet to be announced, but on face value the Musso and siblings look good ... unlike the old Stavic.