MarketPlace

Ford Falcon scores 17th title

The Aussie Ford Falcon has left the Supercars championship on a high, with Scott McLaughlin winning the drivers’ championship for DJR Team Penske in Newcastle. McLaughlin’s win is the 17th for a Falcon in Australian touring car history, moving it one past the Holden Commodore in the all-time title tally. Ford teams will race Mustangs in next year’s championship, against Holden’s ZB Commodore, which finished runner-up in the 2018 title fight at the hands of fellow Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen.

NOV 2018

Market notches up magic mill, but...

HIGHLIGHTS Light commercial vehicles were the only growth segment in November with sales that climbed by 4.2 percent compared with November 2017 to total 20,900 units. Light commercials represent 20.5 percent of the total market year-to-date, and occupy three of the top five places on the best-sellers chart, which was topped by market-leading Toyota Hilux.

LOWLIGHTS: Total market sales reached 1,065,583 in November 2018, which represents a 1.9 percent decline compared with the same period in the record 2017 sales year. November’s tally of 93,860 units, meanwhile, was down 7.4 percent compared with November 2017. The passenger-car market led the decline again, down 20.8 percent to 29,250 units compared with Nov ’17. Sales of SUVs, which represent 42.9 percent of the market year-to-date, were down 1.9 percent compared with Nov ’17, at 39,983 units.

Road Vehicle Standards Bill passes

The federal government passed the Road Vehicle Standards Bill in late November, starting a process to see new regulations replace the Motor Vehicles Standards Act of 1989. The proposed rule changes would most heavily affect the Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicle Scheme which regulates private imports. This would make it easier to bring cars into the country, and allow rare and exotic vehicles to comply with the Australian Design Rules (ADRs) without the need to be converted to right-hand drive.

Incoming

JANUARY-FEBRUARY

ALFA ROMEO Stelvio Q; AUDI RS5 Sportback; BMW i3 update; FORD Endura, Focus and Everest update; JAGUAR F-Pace upgrade and SVR; KIA Cerato hatch and GT, Picanto GT; LAND ROVER Range Rover P400e plug-in; LEXUS CT200h update and UX; MERCEDES-BENZ C63 AMG update and X350d; SKODA Fabia facelift; SUZUKI Jimny and Vitara update

MARCH-APRIL

AUDI A6; BMW 3 Series, 8 Series, and X7 30d and M50d; FORD Fiesta ST; GENESIS G70 and G80; HYUNDAI i30 N Fastback; Kona EV and Veloster; JEEP Wrangler; LAMBORGHINI Aventador SVJ; MAZDA 3 hatch and sedan; MERCEDES-BENZ A-Class sedan, GLE-Class; PORSCHE Macan update; ROLLS-ROYCE Cullinan; SSANGYONG Musso LWB update; TOYOTA RAV4 and Prius

Mercedes A-Class

The A200 will introduce Aussies to the Mercedes-Benz A-Class sedan when it arrives in April. Benz’s booted baby is only expected to generate incremental sales for A-Class alongside the hatchback, and will subsequently be offered in both A180 and A250 forms, each at a premium around $2000 compared with a hatch of the same specification. The handsome A-Class sedan is built on the same 2729mm wheelbase as its sibling, but is 130mm longer overall with the addition of a boot. The A-Class features Mercedes’ voice-command MBUX infotainment and driving assistance system. The A200 comes powered by a 120kW, 250Nm 1.3-litre turbo petrol four and sevenspeed dual-clutch auto combo and is expected to kick off just below $50K.

BMW 8 Series

BMW’s reborn 8 Series will be spearheaded by M850i versions in early 2019. The 390kW, 750Nm 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 will be offered in $272,900 coupe and $281,900 convertible forms, both available for order now. The Munich manufacturer claims 0-100km/h in 3.7sec for the coupe and 3.9s for the heavier drop-top. Standard features include adaptive dampers, wireless smartphone charging, and 20-inch M light alloy wheels. On the tech front, there’s BMW’s Live Cockpit Professional with 12.3in cluster, HUD and gesture control, in addition to Laserlight headlights and an active anti-roll system.

Ford Fiesta ST

Powered by a 1.5-litre turbo three-pot, Ford’s latest Fiesta ST looks set to give the likes of the Clio RS200 and the Polo GTI some serious competition when it lands in April. With 147kW, 290Nm charged with propelling just 1262kg up the road, it sounds a potent mix, the 6.5sec 0-100km/h time being not far short of something like a Hyundai i30N. Good news for three-pedallers is that a manual gearbox is offered, and a Quaife limited slip diff’ keeps things neat up front. Pricing kicks off at $27,490 for the three-door pocket rocket.