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.

    Hybrid ‘Vette coming Down Under

    After decades without a factory right-hand drive Corvette, Chevrolet is now rolling out every new variant of its sports car with a right-hook option.

    The Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray – detailed here – is the latest member of the iconic sports car family to be revealed, and it’s coming here.

    “It is with great excitement that we can confirm that the next-gen Corvette, the E-Ray, will make its way Down Under. Stay tuned for more details,” said a spokesperson for GM Specialty Vehicles (GMSV).

    FULL STORY: Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray V8 hybrid confirmed for Australia

    Growing order list for a growing Jimny

    Hundreds of people have plonked down deposits on a Suzuki Jimny 5-Door despite the lack of local pricing and spec details, the company claims.

    Revealed last week in Delhi, the stretched new Jimny variant is on track to hit Australia in either late 2023 or early 2024, offering more practicality than the cult three-door 4×4.

    “We announced that car Friday last week and we said pre-orders are available, and our dealers have been inundated. We’ve had a couple of hundred orders come through, 90 per cent for the automatic,” said Suzuki Australia general manager Michael Pachota.

    FULL STORY: Suzuki Australia ‘inundated’ with Jimny 5-Door orders

    XV out, Crosstrek in

    Subaru’s new Crosstrek, set to replace the well-liked XV when it launches during April, will kick off at $34,990 before on-road costs and come with a hybrid option further up the range.

    Order books are now open, and will fill fast considering the outgoing Subaru XV attracted more than 100,000 Australian buyers over a decade on sale, and two generations.

    The 2023 Subaru Crosstrek range again comprises five variants: three petrol-powered grades (now called 2.0L, 2.0R and 2.0S) and two hybrids (again called Hybrid L and Hybrid S).

    FULL STORY: 2023 Subaru Crosstrek SUV: Orders open from $34,990

    Toyota looks to make up for lost production

    Toyota is planning to dramatically increase its production in 2023 to start whittling down long customer wait times, but warns it could miss its target by as much as 10 per cent.

    The world’s biggest carmaker issued a “baseline production” bulletin today stating its goal to make 10.6 million cars in 2023.

    To give that context, Toyota last November downgraded its production plan for the outgoing Japanese financial year (April 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023) to 9.2 million cars, down from the previous goal of 9.7 million cars.

    FULL STORY: Toyota plans 15 per cent more production in 2023 to cut wait times

    Almost none in Australia though…

    The wider Volkswagen Group delivered 572,100 all-electric vehicles to buyers in 2022, up 26 per cent year-on-year (YoY).

    Accordingly, the Group’s EV sales accounted for 6.9 per cent of its total, up from a 5.1 per cent share in 2021 and just 2.5 per cent in 2020. In the course of 2022, additional sites in Emden, Hanover and Chattanooga started to produce EVs.

    However the performance could have been far greater, with VW Group claiming to hold a staggering 310,000 BEV backorders in Western Europe alone, as it navigates crippling supply chain shortages on the back of COVID and Russia’s Ukraine invasion.

    FULL STORY: Volkswagen Group’s EV sales, staggering order bank detailed

    Ta-ta to bland designs

    Tata, global parent of Jaguar Land Rover, revealed multiple EV concepts at the 2023 Auto Expo in Delhi last week.

    The most interesting from a design perspective is the Tata Sierra EV, which claims to pair “timeless design” with “versatile and plush interiors” and be suited to “an outdoorsy lifestyle”.

    It dusts off the Sierra nameplate, last seen in the 2000s on a three-door, ute-based SUV.

    FULL STORY: Tata reveals multiple EV concepts, as India plugs in

    Geelong gigafactory plans

    Plans are afoot to build a massive lithium-ion battery cell production facility in Geelong, a city located around an hour from Melbourne.

    The goal is to create one of the world’s largest gigafactories, eventually generating up to 30 gigawatt hours (GWh) of storage capacity per year for EVs and stationary energy storage units.

    Construction in Avalon near the airport is slated to begin in the second half of 2023, with the goal of producing batteries equal to 2GWh annually in the second half of 2024, and 6GWh by 2026.

    FULL STORY: Electric car battery gigafactory to be built in Geelong

    Potential fire hazard sparks legal action

    Hyundai is the subject of a class action lawsuit involving a potential fire hazard, with sister brand Kia also set to face a similar suit.

    Maurice Blackburn Lawyers lodged the class action against Hyundai with the Supreme Court of Victoria, seeking compensation payments for owners of vehicles with defective anti-lock braking systems.

    Vehicles with this issue have already been the subject of recalls by the company, with Hyundai saying in its recall notices the ABS module’s circuit board may short-circuit when its components are exposed to moisture.

    FULL STORY: Hyundai subject to class-action lawsuit over fire risk, Kia suit proposed

    Audi plugs in its Q5 staple

    Audi Australia will launch a plug-in hybrid Q5 SUV and Q5 Sportback in the second half of this year, it has confirmed, despite the fact this generation is nearing replacement.

    The company has been evaluating this derivative for a local launch since at least 2021, but demand in Europe and ongoing production shortages haven’t helped its cause.

    The Q5 55 TFSI e quattro S line PHEV derivative will offer a claimed 55km maximum electric range, and potent system outputs of 270kW and 500Nm – allowing a 5.3-second 0-100km/h dash.

    FULL STORY: Audi Q5 plug-in hybrid for Australia in 2023

    Polestar poised for major switch

    The Polestar 2 electric liftback could be about to follow in the wheel tracks of the top-selling Tesla Model 3 and go rear-wheel drive.

    Polestar co-parent company Volvo recently announced single-motor variants of its XC40 and C40 Recharge electric crossovers are switching from front-wheel drive to rear-wheel drive as part of a 2024 model year update.

    As the Polestar 2 is based on the same CMA architecture as the Volvo XC40 and C40 Recharge and made in the same Chinese factory, it’s not out of the question that it, too, could switch to rear-wheel drive.

    FULL STORY: Could the Polestar 2 EV go rear-wheel drive?

    HiLux goes EV, via intermediary

    Australian international electric truck-maker SEA Electric has signed a billion-dollar deal to convert 8500 Toyota HiLuxes and LandCruiser to EV for the mining industry by 2028.

    The company announced today the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with a company focused on delivering electric mining vehicles called MEVCO – which has made a commitment to order the 8500 units over the next five years.

    The deal has a total value of close to A$1 billion.

    FULL STORY: 8500 electric Toyota HiLuxes and LandCruisers for mining, in billion-dollar deal

    Sign of the times?

    BMW’s M Division just set a new sales record in 2022, selling 177,257 hotted-up vehicles in 2022 to be up 8.4 per cent year-on-year (YoY). 

    Interestingly its top-seller was electric, in the form of the BMW i4 M50 fastback, a dual-motor performance EV with system power of 400kW. 

    “For us, this is a clear signal that the unique M feeling has arrived in the world of electrified vehicles,” said BMW M GmbH head of customer, brand and sales Timo Resch.

    FULL STORY: BMW’s M Division breaks sales record, led by EVs

    Mike Costello
    Mike Costello is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
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