category_outlined / Cars & Motorcycles

Wheels September 2016

Wheels is Australia’s original motoring magazine. Launched in 1953, we’ve been trusted by generations of Australians to provide entertaining and forthright opinions on the good, the bad and the ugly of new and used cars. A world-class car mag with a formidable international reputation, Wheels covers the full gamut of cars – from sports cars to four-wheel-drives, economy to family cars – but it also covers the people, personalities and the power plays behind one of the world’s most dynamic industries.

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6 Issues


access_time3 min.
editor’s letter

Krueger believes Infiniti is a global brand and doesn’t need a national identity to succeed internationally You’re wrong. Infiniti is not Japanese, even though it’s the luxury offshoot of that very Japanese company Nissan. Neither is it American, despite Donald Trump’s countrymen accounting for more than two-thirds of Infiniti’s sales since the luxury brand started 27 years ago. Considering Infiniti’s ambitions, one could draw a strong connection with China, where Infiniti sold 25,000 cars in 2015 (its first full year there) and was 51 percent up through the first quarter of 2016. But China is not the right answer, either. All the other global brands I named are headquartered in the country with which they are most strongly associated. But to call Infiniti a Hong Kong brand would also be wrong. Infiniti, you see,…

access_time4 min.
end of an aussie icon

WE KNEW this moment was coming, just not so soon. By the time you read this, the Ford Falcon Ute will be history. The very last Falcon Ute – a white XR6 automatic – rolled off the production line on July 29, two months before Broadmeadows builds its last Falcon and 82 years after the company created the first car-based utility back in 1934. From humble pig-hauler to mighty performance hero, the Falcon Ute has reached its end. Ute number 467,690 is destined to become a museum piece, never to carry anything or to turn a wheel in anger. We’ve seen an incredible variety of Falcon utes over its eight decades, including four-wheel drives, high-riding rear-drive offroaders and high-performance V8 track stars. In recent years there has been a lack of development with the ute,…

access_time7 min.

Holden sets date for last local Cruze In what is shaping up to be a very dark day for Australia’s automotive industry, Holden has announced it will end Cruze production at its Elizabeth plant in Adelaide on October 7 – the same day Ford closes its Broadmeadows production line. Holden had previously announced it would end Cruze production some time in October, taking with it 320 jobs. Holden will continue manufacturing the Commodore and its derivatives until late 2017. The company is yet to announce the final date for local manufacturing, which started in 1948. “I cannot comment at all... but it looks fantastic”Marc Werner, BMW Australia managing director, on speculation about the rumoured M2 CSL Falcon to live on… virtually The Ford Falcon is set to live on in the virtual world following…

access_time3 min.
ford’s suv trade

FORD is set to go into battle with Toyota over the rights to the Edge nameplate that graces the global SUV that has finally been confirmed for Australia. Ford said Edge will form an important pillar in a broader SUV strategy planned to plug the hole left by Territory, which ends production in October (stocks will last until mid-2017). However, there’s one giant hurdle for Edge – Ford doesn’t own the rights to the name in Australia. That’s owned by Toyota, which has used the name on various limited-edition SUVs and hatches sold locally. Ford Australia president Graeme Whickman said the company is still working on the naming issue. “We’re weighing up the pros and cons. It’s at an early stage... there’s no rush,” he said. As Wheels went to press Toyota said it hadn’t…

access_time5 min.
autonomy be damned!

“The whole notion of a long bonnet is probably gone now” IAN Callum’s Palomino Blackwing pencil is in full flow, a mesmerising action as lines, curves and circles rapidly fill a page that was blank just moments ago. Sketchpad pages flip as more cars are constructed from graphite lead. Jaguar’s design director is giving Wheels a visual insight into the brand’s design philosophy, and the future of global automotive design. He’s sketching models from Jaguar’s past (SS, E-Type), present (F-Pace) and even future (a purely hypothetical modern-day XJS) to emphasise how exaggeration and proportion have remained key since the Sir William Lyons era. Callum has retained much of Lyons’ philosophies while being charged with the critical, brand-reviving mission of erasing the retro styling that held Jaguar back in the 1990s and early 2000s. Looking…

access_time2 min.
bmw’s ute debate

BMW officials have turned up the rhetoric to convince the boss to revisit the idea of a ute PRESSURE is mounting on BMW to reconsider findings outlined in a secret internal study, a move that could see it follow Mercedes-Benz into the growing and increasingly luxury-focused ute market. The study – included in a global market strategy paper produced under chairman Norbert Reithofer, who was replaced a year ago by 49-year-old Harald Kruger as part of a “generational change” – singled out the ute as one area of potential growth for the German carmaker. However, the strategy paper failed to develop into a concrete new-model plan, in part because of heavy investment in BMW’s alternative i brand and its carbonfibre i3 and i8. Now officials in various markets, including Australia and South Africa, have…