This week in car news: July 4-8

Here are some of the more interesting developments from the past week in Australian automotive news – in case you missed them.

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We publish a ton of car news stories during the working week (70-odd as a rule), and it can be tough to keep up with everything – which is the rationale behind this weekend list.

In short, here are some key articles from our news desk since Monday of this week summarised, just in case you missed them at the time.


Some deeply interesting sales results…

New car sales dipped 9.7 per cent in June on the back of ongoing tight supply – and Australia’s car brands say we’ll be stuck in this holding pattern for some time yet.

The June sales figure according to today’s VFACTS data – checked against registrations – was 99,974 cars, against 110,664 units in the same month last year. There were 25 selling days in both June 2022 and June 2021, resulting in a decrease of 424 vehicle sales per day.

It’s a supply-side issue, according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), rather than reflective of dwindling demand as Aussies prepare for rate hikes and suffer inflation.

FULL STORY: VFACTS June 2022 car sales figures


Toyota hunts Ford Ranger Raptor (kinda)

Toyota Australia will axe the HiLux Rugged X flagship model and replace it with a new “apex off-road variant” – clearly with one eye on Ford’s hot-selling new Ranger Raptor which has 4000 pre-orders and counting.

Without confirming much in the way of detail, it’s expected the unnamed HiLux halo will be designed and suitably modified by Toyota Australia at its Melbourne Product Centre – as was the case with the Rugged X, and with the newly upgraded Rogue spinoff.

Since their arrival in 2018, HiLux Rogue and HiLux Rugged X have amassed more than 17,000 sales, giving TMC Australia some license to grow its local skunkworks operation.

FULL STORY: Toyota Australia working on ‘apex’ HiLux


Tassie and Porsche pair on e-fuels

Porsche and its partners plan to produce 100 million litres of carbon-neutral eFuels per year, in Tasmania, from 2026.

HIF Global LLC, in which Porsche bought a 12.5 per cent stake earlier in 2022, says its Carbon Neutral eFuel Plant will be located around 30km south of Burnie, Tasmania, with a design inspired by a similar plant in Chile.

Construction is on track to kick off in 2024, ahead of eFuel production starting in the middle of 2026. The plant is expected to produce 190 tons of eFuel per day (up to 100 million litres per year) using renewable energy, and will feature a 250MW electroliser.

FULL STORY: Tasmania to produce eco-friendly eFuel for Porsche from 2026


Finally, the new ‘Rok revealed!

Volkswagen has finally revealed its all-new Amarok ute, ahead of its anticipated arrival in Australia early in 2023.

As we all know the new model is based on the new-gen Ford Ranger’s platform and shares its key mechanicals, while promising huge modernisation over its predecessor model that dates back to 2010, and V6 engine aside is looking and feeling quite dated.

It also stands apart from its Ford platform twin with unique exterior and interior designs, and thereby looks to be no mere badge-engineering exercise.

FULL STORY: 2023 Volkswagen Amarok revealed, everything you need to know


Prudent or invasive speed controls?

All newly introduced cars sold in Europe must come with some form of intelligent speed assistance from this month, as per a binding General Vehicle Safety Regulation (EU).

Intelligent speed assistance (ISA) uses camera and map data to take note of the speed limit, and either prompts the driver to obey, or directly slows the vehicle of its own accord.

ISA is part of the ‘second wave’ of active safety measures – using technology such as onboard sensors, radar, cameras, GPS and lasers – now fitted to passenger cars.

FULL STORY: Europe mandates cars that tell you when you’re speeding


Another cheap car killed off

One of Australia’s cheapest and most popular light vehicles is about to exit the market, with no direct replacement available.

Stock of the pre-facelift Suzuki Baleno is dwindling, with the final batch having arrived in May, and the updated model revealed in February this year cannot be sold here because unlike its predecessor it won’t meet recently implemented ADR 85/00 design rules.

Based on the current run-rate, stock of the outgoing Baleno will be available in dealers for just a few more months, with the final 300 GL auto-based models to be called Shadow Editions, fitted with black wheels, a body kit, and some badges and decals.

FULL STORY: Suzuki Baleno discontinued, no replacement for popular light car


EVs own 2% of the market, which sell best?

The Tesla Model 3 remains the best-selling electric vehicle (EV) in Australia, but lockdowns in Shanghai saw deliveries tumble in the second quarter of 2022.

The electric carmaker delivered just 236 examples of the Model 3 across April, May, and June, but its year-to-date tally of 4653 deliveries (as of July 1, 2022) is still comfortably the strongest of any EV.

Its sales account for almost half (48 per cent) of all Australian electric vehicle sales so far in 2022. Overall, there have been 9680 EVs delivered to customers this year, equal to 1.8 per cent of the total market.

FULL STORY: Australia’s best-selling EVs in the first half of 2022


Stretched Jimny nears!

If you like the rugged looks and capability of the Suzuki Jimny but need more space, the Japanese brand appears to be working on a solution.

Our spy photographers have captured a camouflaged Suzuki Jimny prototype in Europe that’s longer than the regular three-door model, and features a pair of extra doors.

This stretched Jimny has been rumoured and spied in mule form for over 12 months now, but this particular prototype appears to be in production form with functioning rear doors.

FULL STORY: 2023 Suzuki Jimny five-door spied


Motoring clubs take over EV charge network

Chargefox, the Australian startup responsible for the country’s largest public EV charging network, has sold its stake in the infrastructure to the various State-based motoring clubs.

This means the full owners of Chargefox are now the NRMA, RACV, RACQ, RAC, RAA and RACT, through their wholly owned company Australian Motoring Services – an existing (roughly 40 per cent) shareholder that’s stepped up its stake.

From an external standpoint, the buyers say the plan is for Chargefox – founded in 2017 – to operate as usual with “renewed support” on its target to have more than 5000 EV plugs across the country by the end of 2025.

FULL STORY: Australia’s biggest public EV charger network changes hands


New Qashqai priced

Nissan has announced pricing on its vital new Qashqai small SUV ahead of launch late this year, with a starting price of $33,890 before on-road costs.

It appears to be an improved offering across the board in terms of performance, spec, safety and design – but buyers will pay more for the privilege.

The delayed new-generation Nissan Qashqai will hit Australian showrooms in the fourth quarter of 2022 to challenge the Mazda CX-30, soon-to-be-updated Kia Seltos, newly launched Honda HR-V, imminent Toyota Corolla Cross, among myriad others.

FULL STORY: 2023 Nissan Qashqai price and specs

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Mike Costello
Mike Costello is the News Editor at CarExpert.

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