WhichCar Friday Five, March 3

Ford Ranger story ratchets up, Chevrolet Camaro heats up and Porsche Macan mucks up

Porsche Macan Frontfive Jpg

The dust has settled for this week when it comes to big, breaking news – and that’s allowed us all to catch our breath. Still, it doesn’t mean it was a particularly quiet one. Here’s five of our best stories from the week in no particular order.

Ford’s legal letter leaks

You’d be aware of the scoop pics that allegedly lift the lid on the next Ford Ranger. Well, Ford went one step further… and basically confirmed it to be true. Talk about an own goal…

When it comes to the press office of a big car company, rule one of fight club (or unauthorised leaks) is to not talk about fight club (or unauthorised leaks). Rule two should be ‘don’t, for the love of Pete, issue a Cease and Desist letter’. But Ford did exactly that, thereby giving Wheels a second story, and the original story a bump.


Porsche’s poor week

When it comes to poorly planned PR outcomes, Porsche is usually pretty immune. Issue new 911 press release and watch the praise roll in. However, the updated Macan launch this week saw not one, but two pretty sizeable gaffs marked against its name.

First is the fact that Porsche expects Macan owners to fork out an extra $2140 for AEB, when buyers of Kia’s humble $14,190 Picanto S have it thrown in for free. ‘Ah, but only 20 percent of people request it,” said Porsche.

The second one was interesting – and, as I understand it, set phone lines between Australia and Germany running red hot. Porsche also announced that its new six-cylinder petrol engine was to be fitted with an Australian-first petrol particulate filter. ‘Are you sure?’ we said. ‘Ah… well… ah, no we’re not,’ came the sheepish answer.

Look, it’s not as bad as Maserati inviting all and sundry on a launch for a Quattroporte variant that hadn’t had its name approved yet, then subsequently asking everyone who’d written stories to kindly unwrite them the next day, but it’s a pretty solid blue from a usually rock-solid operation.


Chev Camaro cashes up

A story that broke overnight heralds the next step in the Chevrolet Camaro journey – and it’s a $160k buy-in for the range-topping ZL1. That’s a lot of moolah… as I write, everyone’s having their say about it, but my gut feel is that HSV – importers and converters of the Camaro – will probably do all right with the more expensive, more exclusive ZL1 than the less convincing 2SS.

The crew at Motor and Wheels have thrown up tonnes of cool stories around the two cars, and it’s definitely worth checking out how the ZL1 compares against the last great supercharged Holden Commodore W1.


Ferrari’s firm stance

“We aren’t doing an SUV,” said about 19 people at a recent Ferrari event we attended. “Yeah, but…” we’d start, and we’d be waved down with an Italian gesture, or have a double espresso shoved in our hands. The fact is that Ferrari is trying to change the message about what it’s actually making, and that’s a more practical Fezza for a new age.

I get it, and I applaud what the company is trying to achieve; change the messaging enough times and it might sink in. My fear is that the ubiquitous term is too ingrained in all of our thick skulls for the Italian supercar maker to easily change our minds.

So what is Ferrari going to make? Not sure yet, but it won’t be especially cheap, it will have all-wheel-drive, it won’t have a V12, it will have a V6 turbo or V8 turbo, and it won’t have a tall ride height. Other than that, we’ll all have to wait...


And finally…

Tesla… what a brand. So many pixels burned for so few cars and car sales. Our contribution to the morass this week? Well, even though the Model 3 is the best-selling electric car in the world, the shine has rubbed off with its owners. Influential US website Consumer Reports has even changed its previously favourable recommendation it issued in 2018, citing inconsistency issues across areas like glass defects and electronics.

And this is all before right-hand-drive Model 3s even make it to Australia…


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