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GO AHEAD, TELL US WHAT YOU REALLY THINK

Bill Brook, Hindmarsh Island, SA

YOUR SAY

But please, keep it tight (no more than 200 words) and do include your suburb if via email: wheels@wheelsmag.com.au You can also have your say on Facebook (search for Wheels Australia), Instagram or Twitter

LETTER OF THE MONTH

The look of surprise on students’ faces during the skidpan braking lessons was telling “

KIDS MUST LEARN HOW TO DRIVE TO SURVIVE

YOUR ARTICLE ‘A heavy toll’ (Wheels, February 2020) quotes an expert saying that fatigue must be targeted along with speed, distraction and alcohol in strategies to reduce road fatalities. Yes, but let’s not forget driver training and testing.

When I got my licence in 1964, the day I turned 16, I drove the testing officer from my local police station around a few local streets. He tinkered with the car radio tuner, looked up and instructed me to return to the station. I was then a fully licensed driver. I’m sure things have improved, but I don’t believe we’re doing nearly enough.

I’ve had the privilege of being involved with a rural community bank, where we paid for local high school students to undertake a comprehensive driving course, including defensive driving, the importance of attentive driving and the consequences of getting it wrong. The look of surprise on students’ faces during the skidpan braking lessons was telling!

Having spent most of my working life in aviation, I wish driver training would draw more parallels with aviation training. A professional approach to fitness for the task and awareness of the enormity of failing to get it right would help greatly with improving our behaviour on the road.

Bill Brook, Hindmarsh Island, SA

Well said, Bill. Personal responsibility and education have a massive part to play 

– Ed

I’M BACK!

I HAVE BEEN motivated to write to you for the cars the first time. While I am saddened by demise of Holden and the closure of made in Oz, you guys always had Falcons, Commodores, hotted-up Falcons or hotted-up It was Commodores every month without fail. boring. I just stopped reading Wheels. Today I of the was just read March 2020. Wow! The quality writing and the diversity of models shown world-class. As good as the benchmark CAR.

Well done. I’m back.

Dieter Kahsnitz, Hawthorn, VIC

Welcome back, Dieter. We try to be a broad church 

– Ed

RALLYING CRY

THE PENDING arrival of the Toyota Yaris GR4 (Wheels, February 2020 ) promises to be one of the automotive highlights of 2020. For me, any ‘performance’ car that is not available with a manual transmission is a deal-breaker.

Driving a performance car should be a fully involved experience, not something where I feel like I’m sitting on the couch, mindlessly twirling the aftermarket sports steering wheel that used to grace the Peugeot 504 I once owned. Automatics are just too boring and lacking driver input or rewards.

Sadly, it’s slim pickings for people like me who crave the drama of a manual these days.

Chris McCormack, Box Hill North, VIC

All power to your (left) elbow, Chris 

– Ed

TAKEN FOR FUELS

EDITOR INWOOD was correct about the need to cut vehicle emissions (Wheels, 2019 Yearbook) but failed to mention the Morrison Government has delayed the introduction of low-sulphur petrol until July 1, 2027.

Our petrol currently can contain up to 150ppm of sulphur, while world’s best practice is 10ppm.

Car companies already manufacture to the 10ppm sulphur standard, and have to detune their engines to run on our dirty petrol, which clogs filters, so they lobbied the Government to cut the sulphur. The Government chose to give refineries seven years to upgrade. Seven years! Why not one?

So the Government has put the profits of oil refineries ahead of the health of Australians and the future of the planet. Seriously?

Michael Secomb, Maleny, QLD

“ AUTOMATICS ARE JUST TOO BORING

PARTY’S OVER

AT THE ANNUAL partners’ family Christmas party I was talking to a fellow plus-one about the fact I was finding it hard to replace my car. She asked what car I drove. The response was a manual VE2 Commodore SS Z. To my surprise, I received a look of derision.

At that moment I was taken back to my letter in Wheels in April 2016 in which I lamented the death of Holden’s brand reputation with a move to Daewoo product. Wheels’ response (sensible at the time) was that we should wait and see what Captiva was like before writing off the Lion.

I guess the rest is history. But a revolving door of American CEOs looking at Holden as a step to a promotion in Detroit, combined with the GFC and Trumplodite policies, inevitably sealed the deal.

I don’t think I’ll be trading in for a Chevy, there’s just no goodwill left in me.

Tom Ritchie, via email

HOLDEN FORTH

THE PERENNIAL arguments on the Mountain, or at a barbecue or bar, about which is better, Commodore or Falcon, will be replaced by another lingering debate: who killed Holden?

Was it the politicians, like former Treasurer Joe Hockey, who dared GM to pack up local manufacturing? Or was it billions of dollars in subsidies, which discouraged the company from evolving into a truly global player?

Was it the changing automotive tastes in Australia, which lost its appetite for large sedans?

Or GM’s decision to persist with the Commodore nameplate on a German import about as Aussie as Warsteiner?

Should we question some of Holden’s weird a with such out the it their the marketing strategies, like the TV ad for Colorado racing a mountain goat up a cliff horrible music it had me wearing mute button on my remote? Or was product range of cheap Korean and American models that failed to resonate with Australian market?

Truth is, we all played a part. Governments, consumers, Holden and GM management all had a hand in the death of Holden. The big question now is, which marque will be next?

Craig Sullivan, Canberra, ACT

Agreed, Craig, it’s no one thing 

– Ed

SOUND PROOF

GREAT IDEA to include in-cabin decibel testing in road tests (Wheels, February 2020), but the use of different brands of tyres can make a considerable difference to noise levels. I road-tested two Mercedes AMG C43 sedans, one shod with Continental tyres and the other on Dunlops, and the noise levels differed greatly. Are you going to take tyre brands into consideration in your road tests?

Jim Wade, Nowra, NSW

We’ll test as we find, Jim, and report the tyre fitment. But it’s a valid point. Some boots are notoriously vocal 

– Ed

CHEW ON THIS

THE UN REPORTS that greenhouse gas emissions from animal agriculture are more than those of transportation globally. It’s a close call – about 14.5 percent to 14 percent – but worse is that 44 percent of animal agriculture emissions are made up of methane, which is around 34 times worse for the atmosphere than CO2 . The emissions figures also don’t count the impact of deforestation and land degradation incurred by animal agriculture.

So, while more efficient vehicles are great, one simple (and healthy) way to ensure we all get to keep enjoying our cars is to reduce our intake of animal food products. I’m not saying go full vegan (although I did, and have never felt better!), just cut back on eggs, dairy and meat products. You’ll feel better (health-wise) while belting along your favourite blacktop, with a smaller carbon footprint to boot.

Darcy Maynard, via email

WIN!

LETTER OF THE MONTH PRIZE

For helping to keep us all alert at the wheel, Bill, enjoy a year’s subscription to the mag on us!

NOT FOR OUR SHORES

Sad about Cad

HOLDEN AXING LEAVES RIGHT- HOOK PROSPECTS BY WAYSIDE

“This Cadillac mule looks good but won’t be coming to Oz due to the demise of GM and their decision to cease right-hand drive options.

Stupid crazy,” says Darren Eastwood on Facebook. We agree on both account, Dazza.