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Browse the latest automative news, events, trends and innovations in the Australian Automotive industry from automotive experts, manufacturers, dealers, media and associations on Top4 News.
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Why we need car lemon laws in Australia

Why we need car lemon laws in Australia | Automotive Services |

Bought a new car that's a dud? You have a lemon, but there are currently no Australian car lemon laws to help...

MODERN CARS ARE marvels of engineering. Sophisticated, reliable, safe, practical… they cost millions to develop and these days there are very few absolutely dire cars, with today’s “bad” car well advanced beyond yesterday’s “acceptable”. 
Still, for one reason or another, individual cars can turn out to be problem-prone nightmares and these are known colloquially as ‘lemons’. A car being a lemon is very rarely down to an intrinsic design fault common across all vehicles, because those sort of things are noticed and fixed across the board as part of recalls – well, most of the time and sometimes under duress. 
Instead, your lemon is a one-off individual problem machine. The root cause might be a manufacturing error, service error, even operator error that results in problem after problem, often apparently unrelated, usually hard to reproduce or even harder to fix. Often these problems are electronic or electrical. 
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Rev up some big savings

Rev up some big savings | Automotive Services |

DRIVING down the dollars you spend on buying and running a car is not as hard as it seems.

Cars are a necessary expense for most of us, but experts say there are plenty of ways to cut the costs of your vehicle, its insurance and finance.

Motorists have benefited from tumbling global oil prices, which are pushing pump prices down towards $1 a litre in some states, but that’s no reason to sit back and ignore savings elsewhere.


“All cars are not created equal, and the running costs of different makes and models can be worlds apart and can have a big impact on your finances,” says People’s Choice Credit Union spokesman Stuart Symons.

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The biggest myth about warming up your car in winter is doing your engine more harm than good

The biggest myth about warming up your car in winter is doing your engine more harm than good | Automotive Services |

Harsh driving conditions in winter are already hard on your car, but you could be making things a lot worse.

If you’re one of the many drivers who thinks it’s important to idle your car, or turn it on and let it “warm up,” in frigid winter months to protect the engine, you’ve likely fallen victim to a myth that’s may be doing more harm than good.

Under normal conditions, your car engine runs on a mixture of air and vaporized fuel, gasoline in this case. When that mixture enters a cylinder, a piston compresses it, which produces a spark. That spark ignites a spark plug that then generates a combustion event, which drives the engine.

But when it’s cold outside, gasoline is less likely to evaporate. Your car compensates for this initially by adding more gasoline to the air-vapour mixture — what Ciatti calls running “rich” — and that’s where the problem begins. Here’s an animation that shows how pistons drive the cylinders in your car to generate a combustion event:

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Honda and GM to build joint venture hydrogen fuel cell factory

Honda and GM to build joint venture hydrogen fuel cell factory | Automotive Services |

Honda and General Motors are reportedly working towards a joint venture factory that will produce hydrogen fuel cells. 

Anonymous sources said that Honda and GM plan to have this factory operational by 2025 at the latest. No indication has been given, yet, as to where the new plant will be located.

The current plans call for the two partners to jointly produce fuel cells, which take hydrogen stored in highly pressurised form on-board and combine it with oxygen drawn from the air to produce water, that’s emitted as exhaust, and electricity.

Honda and GM will, however, individually engineer their own cars to make use of these new joint venture fuel cell units.

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Car manufacturing woes to claim another 140 jobs in Adelaide

Car manufacturing woes to claim another 140 jobs in Adelaide | Automotive Services |

As many as 140 workers at Adelaide car component company SMR Automotive (SMRA) will lose their jobs in March ahead of Holden's withdrawal from Australian car manufacturing in 2017.

The company said the decision was made due to the downsizing of Australia's car manufacturing industry.

It also resulted from the winding up of a major contract making mirrors for Ford in the United States.

Some 30 of the jobs being axed were full-time while another 110 were contractors.

SMRA general manager John Scott said its 560-strong workforce had been informed of the planned restructure, which would come into effect in March.

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Tesla adds software to let cars park themselves with no driver

Tesla adds software to let cars park themselves with no driver | Automotive Services |

Tesla Motors rolled out new software that will let some of its electric cars park in a garage or in perpendicular spaces without a driver behind the wheel.

Tesla Model S cars can now leave the garage, greet their owners at the front door and even reverse park, after a software update launched ahead of the Detroit Motor Show.

The company has placed safety restrictions that limit the car to just above the speed limit on streets without central dividers and force it to slow down when roads curve.

Elon Musk, Tesla chief executive, said the update was a "baby step" towards the cars being able to drive themselves across the country, summoned by an owner in another city.

"I might be slightly optimistic on this but I think within two years you will be able to summon your car from across the country. If you are in New York and your car is in Los Angeles, it will find its way to meet you wherever your phone is," he said.

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Volkswagen Caddy recalled for starter fix: Vehicle may move when unlocked

Volkswagen Caddy recalled for starter fix: Vehicle may move when unlocked | Automotive Services |

Volkswagen has recalled older models in its Caddy van and people-mover lines, over concerns that an electrical issue could cause the vehicle to move unexpectedly.

The carmaker reports that a particular earthing attachment may not have been properly secured during manufacture. If the fault occurs, the process of unlocking the vehicle could cause the starter motor to crank the engine.

If the vehicle is left in gear, as many motorists do when parking their car, the unexpected starting of the engine could cause the vehicle to move by itself.

Volkswagen has confirmed that the recall affects “just under 700″ vehicles in the 2012 and 2013 Caddy lines.

Concerned owners are advised to contact their nearest Volkswagen dealer to arrange repair.

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Should you replace tyres with the same ones that were on your car new?

Should you replace tyres with the same ones that were on your car new? | Automotive Services |

WHEN THE TIME COMES TO REPLACE TYRES, many owners are confused about whether to change to a different brand or stick with the original equipment. Others take the opportunity to “improve” the handling or appearance of their cars by fitting different wheels and/or tyres.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that car manufacturers are highly selective about which tyres they fit as original equipment, and they do considerable research and testing to ensure the tyres are the best choice for the job. On the other hand, they are also constrained by a number of unavoidable compromises, and economic factors must also be considered.

One thing is not in doubt: their recommended tyre pressures are the best for most drivers, finding a balance between handling, ride and longevity.

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Share car data for cheaper services

Share car data for cheaper services | Automotive Services |

IF Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party senator Ricky Muir gets his way car owners may pay less to have their vehicle serviced.

THE senator wants a national vehicle data-sharing portal established to boost competition between dealership and independent servicers.  Senator Muir argues not all people can afford to have their car serviced at a dealership.

"People need to be able to afford and have that choice of repairer, especially if it's a repairer they trust and have a rapport with," he told reporters in Canberra.

Under his plan, the portal would be overseen by an independent body and enforced by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

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Automotive Future: Success with Services, Not Cars

Automotive Future: Success with Services, Not Cars | Automotive Services |

Decision makers in the automotive industry should be alert: The digitization will radically change development processes and business models, a study from consulting company Kugler Maag states. The main challenge: product oriented business models will be displaced by service oriented models, thinking in terms of product will give way to thinking in services – following the example of the IT. Even the classic vehicle architecture is challenged.

Digital competency will decide over the success of the enterprise, this is a first common denominator among 42 top executives polled by Kugler Maag. The study, created in the context of the European research project Scalare in cooperation with BMW Car IT, Bosch, Fraunhofer SIT and the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland) examined how digital competency at enterprise level can be shaped and how the enterprises can achieve the required degree of digital literacy.

Digitization will increasingly challenge the business model of the automotive industry that has been established and refined over decades. Likewise, the structure of the value chain in this industry will be replaced by a more network-oriented business model, the study says. These value-creating networks will integrate different sorts of vendors and providers; examples are IT and Internet providers, car rentals and manufacturers. The paradigm shift lies in the fact that no longer will the car be the center of the activities but a holistic service around mobility. The interface to the customer, for decades the showrooms of the dealership, will move to IT companies or service providers.

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Handy hints for preparing for a road trip this Christmas

Handy hints for preparing for a road trip this Christmas | Automotive Services |

BEFORE you set off on a road trip this Christmas, be sure your car is ready to make the distance. Here’s Trevor Waterhouse’s, of Trevor Waterhouse Mechanical Repairs in Grafton, tips for preparing for a road trip.

Start your preparation early

Don’t wait until the last minute to make sure your car is in road-ready condition. Do it a week or two before you plan to leave. That way you will be more relaxed when you do it and less likely to forget or skip things in the rush to get ready.

Check your car

There’s nothing worse than sitting on the side of the road with a car load of bored kids waiting for road side assistance to arrive. Before you leave home get someone to check your engine oil, coolant and windscreen wash reservoir and top up if needed. Also check the operation of things like the lights, wipers and washer and make any necessary repairs.

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Big Auto look to tech companies to fix cars over the air

Big Auto look to tech companies to fix cars over the air | Automotive Services |

By Alexandria Sage SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - As cars increasingly resemble digital devices, a group of technology firms that can send wireless software updates to cars are in hot demand.

Interest in the technology, through which certain car functions can be upgraded much the same way as an iPhone, comes as Tesla is set to deliver an OTA for hands-free cruise control this month, allowing its electric Model S sedans to drive themselves on freeways.

"Tesla has made great strides in raising the profile of OTA, making it appear somewhat sexy by showing how features could be added," said Strategy Analytics consultant Roger Lanctot. "They're almost poking the traditional carmakers in the eye by making it look so easy."

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Motorcycle chain maintenance guide

Motorcycle chain maintenance guide | Automotive Services |

Below is a chain maintenance guide sent to us by Motul and we thought it too good not to share as a handy guide for newcomers to motorcycling, or long time riders who have always been too scared to do any of the maintenance tasks on their own machines.

Predictably, as this guide is produced by a lubricant company, it recommends the use of their products, which are designed for purpose and are likely the best solutions for the job. Be that from Motul, Ipone, Shell, or one of the other companies that produces specialist motorcycle products.

Generally, I have used an old toothbrush and kero to clean a chain if it was really caked in crap, then a good tacky spray wax on the chain. Another piece of advice that will save you money in the long run is to buy a high quality chain when it comes time for replacement. Cheap sprockets can be got by with, but, for a roadbike, always count on spending upwards of $200 to $350 on a good quality chain.

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Ford will replace Ka, will be more relevant to Aussies

Ford will replace Ka, will be more relevant to Aussies | Automotive Services |

Ford has announced it’s almost ready to replace its current European Ka, with an new, third-generation replacement.

Originally, the Blue Oval had been scheduled to replace the now eight-year-old Ka last year, but for unknown reasons put those plans on hold, raising concerns that a replacement for the small city-car had been ruled out.

Denying that was the case, Ford of Europe President Jim Farley tols Automotive News:”We absolutely intend to compete in the value segment” and that the presence of a small, entry-level Ford was “very important for the Ford brand.”

The original, first-generation Ka was sold in Australia in limited numbers until 2002 but the second-gen version,which shares a platform and engines with the current Fiat 500, was never imported, chiefly because it lacked the option of an automatic transmission.

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Maserati: Hybrids the solution to meet emission targets

Maserati: Hybrids the solution to meet emission targets | Automotive Services |

Maserati says it will embrace plug-in hybrid technology as a solution to help it meet strict average emission targets by 2020. Speaking to British car mag Autocar, Maserati’s European general manager, Giulio Pastore, confirmed that the Italian sports car-maker would commit to a plug-in hybrid future. “We have to do it — it’s that simple.

Pastore said that the new hybrids would not trade any performance for lower emissions.

According to Autocar, the Quattroporte, GranTurismo, GranCabrio and Ghibli and the forthcoming Levante will all be offered with plug-in hybrid powertrains to meet the average emission targets.

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Glimmer of hope for Adelaide automotive industry

Glimmer of hope for Adelaide automotive industry | Automotive Services |

The federal and state governments have both expressed tentative hope that the Holden factory at Elizabeth can keep producing cars after GMH's planned shutdown of local operations next year.

Federal industry minister Christopher Pyne revealed today he had a December meeting with Belgian businessman Guido Dumarey, whose Punch Corporation has “a track record of being able to purchase General Motors factories and turn them around”.

State minister Kyam Maher has also met with Dumarey, both here and in Belgium, to discuss his proposal to take over the Elizabeth plant.

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Australia falling behind on emissions standards

Australia falling behind on emissions standards | Automotive Services |

Independent testing has shown that the car market is flooded with vehicles that are failing to meet air pollutant emissions standards.

Australia has been playing catch-up on vehicle emissions standards for years. In September 2015 the EU implemented the Euro 6 standard for new vehicles. These new rules more than halved the acceptable amount of poisonous NOx gases diesel cars may emit.

Meanwhile, the full requirements of the Euro 5 standards will not come into effect in Australia until November 2016. The Ministerial Forum on Vehicle Emissions is currently looking at moving toward Euro 6, but even a draft implementation plan is not due until March 2017.

Inaction by the government in the wake of the Volkswagen Group emissions scandal led the Australian Automotive Association (AAA) to announce in December that it would begin on-road testing of Australian vehicles.

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Australians buy more Mercs than Fords, as luxury car sales surge

Australians buy more Mercs than Fords, as luxury car sales surge | Automotive Services |

Sales of Australian-made cars have slumped to their lowest level in more than 60 years and have edged below 100,000 vehicles for the first time since 1953.

Such is the extent of the decline that German luxury car giant Mercedes-Benz now sells more passenger vehicles in Australia than rival Ford, which has been building Falcons in Australia since 1960.

In total Ford sold 19,817 passenger cars in Australia in 2015, while Mercedes-Benz notched sales of 22,817, according to official VFACTS data released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

The Ford Falcon was launched in Australia in 1960 and more than 26,000 rolled off the company's Broadmeadows production line in the car's first year.

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Why Australian dealers don't want to sell electric cars

Why Australian dealers don't want to sell electric cars | Automotive Services |

A report came out in July last year that said Australia’s “do nothing” approach of up-taking electric cars could cost the local economy over $350 million in the next 20 years, on top of the one million tonnes of carbon emissions that will be added to the environment.

Last year in Australia, just under 2000 electric cars were sold, with the majority of those going to commercial buyers. When you compare that to the 1.1 million new cars sold in Australia last year, it really paints the picture.

So what’s the issue? Well, there seems to be two: pricing and dealers.

As with every emerging technology, the initial entry cost is often high. The cheapest electric car on the market in Australia right now is the Nissan Leaf, which retails for around the $40K mark. But aside from the electric drive-train, everything else about the car was simply on par with vehicles worth half the price. It’s an extremely hard sell for the uneducated car buyer.

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New crash test rules for 2018

New crash test rules for 2018 | Automotive Services |

The Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has endorsed tougher new rules it says will make cars safer.

The federal government has announced a new Australian Design Rule (ADR) for Pole Side Impact Performance, which will apply to compact (aka light) cars from November 2017 and utes (or light commercial vehicles) from July 2018.

It means car makers will need to offer improved side impact protection in two of the most popular vehicle segments in Australia at present.  Side impacts, such as when a car slams into a tree or a pole, are not uncommon and ANCAP says improvements in this area will save lives.

“This is a welcome development that will lift vehicle safety standards and go a long way to helping save hundreds of lives,” ANCAP CEO, James Goodwin said.

The newly announced ADR falls into line with global standards, chiefly United Nations Global Technical Regulation 14, or GTR 14.

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Honda reclaims top spot in Australian aftersales service study

Honda reclaims top spot in Australian aftersales service study | Automotive Services |

Honda has reclaimed top spot in JD Power’s aftersales service study, leading the field of Australia’s mainstream automotive brands for customer care.

The Japanese manufacturer surged into number one position in the 2015 Australia Customer Service Index (CSI) Study into mass-market brands, pipping last year’s leader Mazda to take the crown.

Honda skyrocketed a massive 29 points up the charts this year to a score of 816 out of 1000, rising from beneath the mass market average in 2014 and overtaking six brands on its way to the top in 2015.

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Will your car insurance cover your loss?

Will your car insurance cover your loss? | Automotive Services |

AS IF HAVING YOUR CAR STOLEN or written off in a crash isn’t difficult enough, many people find the real hassles start when they have to deal with the insurance company.

Statistically, one in every 100 vehicles is classed as a total loss, meaning it cannot be recovered after being stolen or is unable to be repaired economically after a crash (a situation that’s becoming more common as even apparently minor crashes will cost more to repair than the car is worth).

Most of us are covered by comprehensive car insurance, so we probably think we’ll have to cope with a little inconvenience before the insurance company pays out. However, as many motorists find, often to their cost, there can be some confusion about what the insurance company thinks the car is worth compared to the owner’s assessment.

The conflict often arises because there are a number of different insurance policies on offer. Many people choose their insurance policy by seeking out and accepting the lowest premium. However, insurance policies, like most things, can vary considerably, so it pays to not only shop around for the best price, but also to ensure that the coverage you are buying suits your needs.

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Volkswagen says 120,000 U.S. diesel owners will get gift cards, repairs

Volkswagen says 120,000 U.S. diesel owners will get gift cards, repairs | Automotive Services |

(Reuters) - Volkswagen of America said on Wednesday that 120,000 owners of diesel cars that have violated U.S. emission standards will receive $500 (327.64 pound) gift cards and $500 towards vehicle repairs.

Last week, Volkswagen said it was offering a $500 prepaid Visa gift card, a separate card good for $500 towards services at a VW dealerships and free 24-hour roadside assistance for three years. In total, that could mean at least $120 million in benefits to the participating owners.VW spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan said 120,000 owners have signed up to receive the gift cards - or about one quarter of the 482,000 vehicle owners covered by the emissions scandal.

VW said taking part does not prevent owners from filing lawsuits. The automaker faces hundreds of lawsuits around the country. VW Group of America President and CEO Michael Horn is announcing the news at the Los Angeles Auto Show and is making his first significant public remarks since he testified before Congress on the emissions scandal on Oct. 8.

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Why you should opt for professional car service

Why you should opt for professional car service | Automotive Services |

Whether you are a new or veteran car care professional, providing customers with quality services starts with education.

Having a car is extremely convenient. However, the pleasure comes with certain responsibilities that owners must uphold. Maintaining a car is one such responsibility. It doesn’t matter how old or how new a car is, if it is well-maintained, even the oldest vehicle can run like it’s brand new. Thus, servicing a car is a must if the owner expects to keep it in good shape. Make sure to educate your customers on why they should opt for professional car services.

Importance of servicing

  • Servicing a car regularly is important.If a car owner doesn’t get his or her car checked, minor problems are more likely to escalate into major issues, and he or she will be forced to shell out large sums of money to get the car to work properly again.
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Lack of car maintenance putting lives at risk before long journeys

Lack of car maintenance putting lives at risk before long journeys | Automotive Services |

Nearly 800,000 Gen Y drivers don't know what a dipstick is. But the amusing lack of maintenance knowledge among young drivers is part of a more worrying trend: fewer than one in five of all drivers do a full maintenance check before heading on a long journey, putting lives at risk. 

According to a Galaxy poll commissioned  to coincide with Fatality Free Friday, most Gen Y drivers thought a dipstick was used to change gears on a manual car, drive the pistons in the engine, or check the depth of water on a road during flooding.

The study of more than 1000 drivers, weighted using data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, found only 18 per cent of drivers do a full maintenance check before a long drive. Simon Wilson, Manager of the Automotive Network for Allianz Global Assistance, says he was surprised by the findings.

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