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The Mercury Cars Guide : July 31st 2010
4--- Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au Saturday, July 31, 2010 NEWS Kia in Australia Change in the air for Kia All Kias arriving in this country will now be altered to suit Australian driving. PAUL GOVER reports E VERY new Kia that lands in Australia from today will be tuned for local roads and drivers. The new deal starts with the all-new Sportage, an SUV that goes into showrooms on August 8. Kia Australia promises it has suspension tweaked from Korea for the unique demands of Australian roads and drivers, following a comprehensive local development program. There is no extra cost involved in the switch, which Kia has been planning for more than 18 months as it looks to put an Australian flavour into its cars and distance itself from its Korean ''big brother'', Hyundai. ''We've got the chance to do great things. We've got to create a flavour for our cars,'' says Steve Watt, national marketing manager at Kia Australia. Watt has driven the project and is responsible for enlisting former Toyota suspension guru Graeme Gambold to head the work. ''When I first got to Kia it was obvious that the company was making huge gains, very quickly,'' Watt says. ''But there was not much local flavour --- it was more about price, not about making cars better to drive.'' He has run several local evaluation programs, including the creation of a prototype Koup that finally delivers on its sporty looks, and has hosted engineers from Korea. ''We've worked hard to get the Koreans to understand our conditions and needs,'' Watt says. ''They have been here to understand that driving on our country roads is something they have not encountered before.'' The suspension work is intended to make Kia cars more enjoyable and responsive in local conditions, not create racetrack specials. ''We are a family car company, but if we can make sure the family has an enjoyable run then we're miles ahead,'' Watt says. He says work on the Sportage has been done with off-the-shelf components in Korea, but future models will have Australian input from the earliest stages of development. ''Sportage is a journey we started late,'' Watt says. ''Every car that comes on from now onwards will have higher-degree suspension. The timelines are more favourable for us, the earlier we start. ''Normally there is no extra cost. The components are there, it's a case of getting the right components.'' Flying the Koup THE proof of Kia's commitment to Australia already exists, in a locally tuned Koup. The showroom Koup was the subject of a heavy CarsGuide attack over its lacklustre suspension and steering, as well as things such as a sloppy gearchange. Graeme Gambold was called into action and he has worked wonders. His one-off Koup has suspension that works, and works well. It is compliant and well-damped, gives a better ride at the same time as improved cornering, grip and balance, and even removes the nasty steering kick-back in the original. He has even fixed the gearshift by lifting the knob by 75mm. Gambold says the work is relatively easy, provided you know the targets and have the right roadmap. ''There is no excuse for poor dynamics,'' he says. ''A shock absorber costs the same, whether it's a good one or a bad one. ''I'm not building a hotrod --- I'm building a demonstration car for Korea. It's not big changes, but it's something to measure.'' Gambold has big ambitions and the Koup improvements could eventually become a customer kit available through dealers. ''Next year we get into the future with the Magentis replacement,'' he says. ''From there onwards there is no compromise, there is no going back.'' There are still failings in the Koup, and Gambold has not been able to build in the basic chassis strength needed to make a real sportscar. His demonstration car also has a loud exhaust (to advertise the changes) that needs some refinement. But the Gambold Koup is a nice car, and much better than the Kia original. Opel eyes Australia AUSTRALIA could become a target for Opel as the European arm of General Motors aims for an upscale future. Opel is hoping to fill some of the vacant ground left by GM's sale of Saab and has named Australia as one of its targets. The Opel-built Calibra coupe, as well as the family- style Vectra and Astra, were sold here before GM Holden turned its small-car focus on Korea and the products being produced by Daewoo. The latest Barina, Viva, Cruze and Captiva all have their roots in Korea, although there is growing tweaking by engineers and designers at Fishermans Bend. Holden is mostly non- commital about the plan but Opel boss Nick Reilly --- who, ironically, once led the GM team at Daewoo --- is bullish. ''Opel is an icon of German engineering,'' he told Stern magazine in Germany. ''For markets such as China, Australia and South Africa, Opel can be a premium brand. We've got great, award- winning cars. ''The strategy is to rather focus on China, Australia and South Africa.'' Reilly has big plans for Opel, which was originally scheduled for sale as part of the GM bankruptcy proceedings in the US. It survived the threat and is now intended to spearhead a prestige push while GM uses Chevrolet as its global value brand. ''We have to be able to compete with Volkswagen; if possible, we should have an even stronger brand. And in Germany we should be able to charge higher prices than the French or Koreans, '' Reilly said. ''But we will not attempt to copy BMW, Mercedes or Audi.'' There are strong ties between Opel and Holden which go back to the 1970s. The original VB Commodore of 1978 was an Opel design, stretched for family work down under. But Holden is not a supporter of the Opel push --- at least, not yet. ''From our end there are no plans to reintroduce Opel- sourced product into the Holden line-up,'' says spokesperson Emily Perry. The last remaining Opel product in the Holden catalogue is the Combo van. Sales this year have just topped 300 vehicles, with 63 delivered in June. The Astra convertible, which is discontinued, has also contributed 19 Opel-sourced sales through the first half of 2010. PAUL GOVER MOTORS PTY LTD HOBART CNR COLLINS AND BARRACK ST HOBART 6230 7220 Conditions: All cars must be ordered and delivered between 1st August and 30th September 2010. Offer valid at participating dealers on existing dealer stock while stocks last. Offers exclude fleet, rental and govt. buyers and vehicles used for commercial purposes. Hyundai reser ves the right to change, supersede or extend these offers. The 5 Year/ unlimited kilometre warranty is only applicable to vehicles used for private and domestic use and is not applicable for vehicles used for certain high mileage commercial purposes i.e. courier, security and rental cars. iPod is a registered trademark of Apple Computer Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Bluetooth is a registered trademark of Bluetooth SIG, Inc ^ADR 81/02 fuel consumption will vary depending on a combination of driving habits, road conditions and condition of vehicle. 1. 2010 RACT Operating Cost Survey (Light Car) for Getz 1.4, 3 door manual. 2. 2010 RACT Operating Cost Survey (Light Car) for i30 2.0 Petrol SX manual. 3. 2010 RACT Operating Cost Sur vey (Compact SUV) for ix35 2.0 petrol manual. A) Campaign price for i30 2.0 Trophy manual. B) Campaign price for i30CW Trophy Wagon 2.0 manual. C) Campaign price for i30 SX 1.6 petrol. D) Campaign price for i30cw wagon 2.0 SX manual. E) Campaign price for Getz 1.4, 3 door manual. F) Campaign price for ix35 2.0 2WD Active manual. HMCA1852/HPC/HM hyundai.com.au/offers or call 1800 186 306 ll 18 001 86 306 GETZ FROM $12,990EDRIVE AWAY ix35 FROM $29,990FDRIVE AWAY $ $21,490A DRIVE AWAY i30CW Trophy WAGON also avaIlablE From $23,490B DRIVE AWAY i30 TropHY HATCH FROM SPECIAL EDITION i30 TROPHY i30 HATCH FROM $19,990C DRIVE AWAY i30Cw Wagon also avaIlablE From $22,990D DRIVE AWAY DESIGN ECONOMY 2010 MOST ECONOMICAL CAR TO OWN AND RUN1 ■ 6.1L /100km^ ■ Air Conditioning ■ Bluetooth ■ Remote keyless entry ■ Full size spare ■ Immobiliser & alarm ■ Steering wheel audio controls 2010 MOST ECONOMICAL COMPACT SUV TO OWN & RUN3 ■ 2.0 Petrol ■ 122kW power ■ 6 Airbags ■ ESP Stability Control ■ iPod & USB connectivity ■ Downhill brake control ■ Power drivers seat ■ Hillstart assist control 2.0 TURBO DIESEL OPTION AVAILABLE ■ 2.0L petrol ■ 16" titanium finish alloys ■ Cruise control ■ Front fog lamps ■ Leather steering wheel and gear knob ■ 6 airbags ■ iPod & USB connectivity ■ ESP Stability Control ■ Rear spoiler 2010 MOST ECONOMICAL CAR TO OWN AND RUN2 ■ 6.5L/100km^ ■ iPod & USB connectivity ■ ESP Stability Control with Traction Control ■ Glovebox drinks cooler ■ ABS with EBD ■ Full size spare
July 24th 2010
August 7th 2010