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Bye, Australian - Letter of the Month
How many readers of Wheels magazine can remember the days of the Federal Government spruiking the ‘Australian Made’ campaign? I certainly can.
Look at every state and local authority. Almost each one has a police presence, many have an ambulance, each shire council has a fleet of cars – meaning every government authority in this country, be it federal, state or local, buys an enormous number of vehicles each year. And yet, over the years, our politicians in these cities and towns have slowly but surely ditched Holdens and Falcons for, from my observations, mainly Korean cars, and in many country towns, Toyota Prados.
If each government authority at every level had been honest with us and led by example by buying Australian, the volume in this segment alone would have been more than adequate to support at least one of the Big Two. In the case of Holden, economies of scale would have meant that family cars (and other variants such as HSV) could have survived by riding off the back of this volume.
The demise of the Australian car industry lies fairly and squarely with all of us. If I had to summarise what all this means in one word, it is ‘indifference’. Who killed the Australian car industry? It was you and me.
Peter Steele, Brisbane, Qld
Never thought I’d say this, but surely the $37K Toyota Camry SX V6 is shaping up as one of the performance car bargains of 2018? New platform, 227kW, Lexus looks, quad exhausts, red leather! Watch out, grandpa!
Cameron Brenton, West Footscray, Vic
I have noted over the past decade that there are more new cars now with no front bumpers. The grille, nose cone and undertray are the first parts to be damaged in a low-speed frontal contact. Repair shops and parts departments must love these front-bumper-free designs. What ever happened to the 40-year-old US regulations calling for impact-absorbing bumpers all set at the same height?
Ian Gibson, Kangaroo Point, Qld
The first time I was flicking through the feature ‘Lone Ranger’ by Stephen Corby and Thomas Wielecki (Wheels, Dec ’17) I couldn’t help but notice the photo of the blue Beetle of Birdsville.
Just by chance I was reading Onslo by Kelly Theobald to my three-year-old at bedtime and I had to open the magazine again to double-check and point out to my kid that the story was based on a real car. After all, how many blue VWs are there in Birdsville? Sadly, Ms Theobald died in 2015 so we won’t be reading any more of Onslo’s adventures.
Graeme Kay, via email
I would like to talk about the recent and sad closure of Holden. People have been talking about why it happened and how it could have been avoided, but at the end of the day the deal is done. Australians love their V8s, but eventually Holden was going to have to move to alternative powertrains. Yes, it’s innovative, but we car people love a V8 and seeing its gradual demise is gut-wrenching.
So along comes Opel, and don’t they have big shoes to fill? How will they address our fascination with the big Aussie V8? Only time will tell.
Mick Pollard, Kilcoy, Qld
Keeping the Faith
I am 11 years old and have every issue of Wheels from August 2016. I am also a diehard Holden fan, and am very sad that Holden has closed down. I have Holden shirts, jackets, hats and every Holden in Forza Motorsport 4. I think October 20 should be declared national Holden and HSV day. Even though I will probably never drive an Aussie-made Holden, I will always be faithful.
Giles Mercer, Altona, Vic
Back of the Pack
What is it with Mitsubishi? They may be “living out the back of the car”, but they certainly don’t seem to be anywhere near the front when it comes to vehicle development. For a company that used to demonstrate some ability to innovate – remember the original Astron engine with balance shafts and the ‘wide body’ Magna – there’s not much evidence of it these days.
Instead, it would appear from casual observation that the company is spending very little money on new product development, generally just rehashing old models or putting a new body on an old chassis (Pajero Sport).
The Pajero was such a groundbreaker in its day, but it’s a shame to see it now being left behind. Mitsubishi Australia is spending heaps on advertising, but it won’t make up for a lack of investment back in Japan.
Ron Glanville, via email
The Holden Precision Driving Team was a full ‘factory’ operation – the cars were owned by Holden, and Holden provided an annual operating budget. The team appeared at shows, motor racing events and the like from 1969 to 2006, entertaining many millions of people over that period. Your history of Holden publication, however, does not mention it.
Lloyd Robertson, HPDT founder, manager and driver, via email
Our apologies for that, Lloyd. All of us here at Wheels acknowledge the entertainment HPDT has provided over that period, however space precluded coverage in the Holden issue. – Ed
Sound of Silence
Character doesn’t come just from design (Next Jaguar F-Type to go all-electric). The drivetrain is vital, and it’s impossible to make an electric drivetrain have character.
S. A. Kilgower, via Facebook
There really should be two different crash-rating scores so that people can understand their chosen new car better (ANCAP crash test ratings explained, whichcar.com.au). First, active safety, assessing how well a car can avoid an accident – things such as autonomous emergency braking, anti-lock brakes and so on, but with at least some score for actual handling.
And second, passive safety, which assesses how well the car protects occupants/pedestrians in a crash. This would help people understand just what type of car they’re buying. Not everyone wants a ‘nanny state’ car, but most want one that will save their life if they’re T-boned!
Roly Trustum, via Facebook
I’m legally allowed to drive my B-double fuel tanker loaded to 68 tonnes at 100km/h on the freeway or country backroad. When I knock off and get in my little German performance car with the best tyres and brakes money can buy, I’m only allowed to drive it at the same speed. Can anyone else see the logic here, because I’m struggling.
Sean Byrne, via Facebook
Putting on a dress and no more power? (2018 Holden Colorado SportsCat by HSV claws at new territory) Is this a Toyota?
Andrew Gempton, via email
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