Friday, January 25, 2013

Are the giants retiring?

As news of Holden’s new VF Commodore – set to be released this year – fills us with patriotic glee this Australia Day, the darker news – that Holden and Ford may both discontinue their flagship models by 2016 – makes our Aussie flags droop with sadness. Could this really be the end of the Commodore and the Falcon? It’s like hearing that Kraft has decided to stop producing Vegemite!



So what will this mean for the great Aussie V6? Will your VE become a collector’s item? Will tradies start driving Kias? And what will happen at the 2017 V8 Supercars? Will we see the Ford v Holden showdown carried out by a Cruze and a Focus? 

Only time will tell, but in the meantime, we’ll get started on stockpiling used models for all those loyalists out there.

Read more about this story at the Daily Telegraph.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

2013: Top 5 Trends in Motoring

Happy New Year everyone!! We’re glad to be back after a nice summer break, especially because it’s shaping up to be an exciting year in the motoring world. The hot topic at our Carzoos Christmas lunch was the top trends coming in 2013. After much friendly debate (and far too much food!) we’ve come up with the following list. What do you think? Are we on the money?


Smart(er) Cars
Just like our smartphones, our cars are getting cleverer and more user friendly. Building on the success of parking assist and collision avoidance, self driving technology is moving forward in leaps and bounds. They’ll be driving themselves soon enough! We’re also going to see an increase in entertainment and information services. Integrated navigation, music, video and location services are getting more and more sophisticated as manufacturers collaborate with technology companies like Microsoft and Google. Developers are even making apps that you can download directly into your car. Anyone for a bit of Angry Birds at the traffic lights?

Electric Vehicles
EVs have been on the ‘hot trends’ list for a few years now without really taking off, but we think that 2013 might be the year. This year will see the release of several new models around the world, which will increase choice and push prices down to a more affordable level. Chevrolet, Fiat, Honda, Audi and Mercedes all have models coming out. And of course the much raved-about Teslas are changing the way people think about the plug-and-drive market.

After Markets
We’re predicting that after market mods are going to take off this year, off the back of a huge surge in the availability of new gadgets. We humble drivers are no longer limited to rims and body kits. Think cool LED headlights, internet and smartphone integration and full-on entertainment systems. It’s a techies dream! The strong Aussie dollar combined with economic issues in US and Europe have really brought prices down on the more sophisticated kit, making it now affordable for the average punter.

Diesels
The historically noisy, sooty diesel engine has really had a makeover in the last five years. Powerful, quiet, green diesel technology has finally been perfected, and the result is a proliferation of options in the consumer market. We’ll be seeing more diesels in Audis, BMWs, Mercedes-Benzes, and even the popular Mazda 6. And of course, Volkswagen have been leading the way in this area for a few years now. In fact, the diesel Golf already outsells is petrol cousin in the United States.

Turbochargers
Turbochargers have always been quite rare, due to their expense and lack of resilience. But engineering has improved in recent times, and manufacturers are increasingly using turbos to give their customers a lot more bang for buck in the engine department. Turbos reduce engine size, radically boost fuel economy and cut down on pollution, with no sacrifice in horsepower or drivability. The likes of Ford, Hyundai, GM, BMW, Jaguar and Land Rover are going to be rolling out models that replace a traditional 6 cylinder with a turbocharged 4 cylinder. You might soon find yourself hearing the loud whip of a blow off valve, only to look up and see grandma doing her grocery run!

So those are our picks for 2013. Only time will tell if we’ll be right or wrong! In the meantime, for used car buying you can’t get wrong, visit carzoos.com.au.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Innovation in motoring



Augmented Reality Windshield Displays


In development for several years the BMW Group, for starters, is finally taking the wraps off of what has been highly conceptual work. Augmented reality has been with us in our lives on our smart phones since 2008 but the technology has the potential to be much more to benefit how we drive, including improvements to safety.

So, BMW, it has been announced, will start with this in the high end models and roll it out along all models before long. It then goes without saying that other brands are working on their own versions. Let the race begin in getting it to market first!!

When can I get one? Think within a decade rather than next year. Hopefully we will see something a bit sooner.





With BMW’s version the display on the windscreen is directly congruent with the real world. The driver’s attention can be specifically alerted to information or hazards, so that he can respond quickly and in an appropriate manner.

Turning manoeuvres and lane recommendations are shown in such a way that they appear to be directly mapped onto the road ahead. Drivers will no longer need to correlate the abstract image from a map to the road in front of them. Instead, the map is on the road and displayed in front of the driver on the windscreen.



Other information that could potentially be projected in this way include lane boundaries, lane departure warnings, night time highlighting of pedestrians, and even recommendations for evasive manoeuvres into other lanes, complete with marked out paths.

Will this make us better drivers, or just help us not get lost? I guess time will tell, but I’m sure this will become an innovation that will become the norm in cars of the future.

Image Source: BMW