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Car torque: AHue debut from Lexus

AHue debut from Lexus
Lexus claimed to be holding a concept-car world premiere at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney this week. Quite a coup for this part of the world, although it turned out to be not so much a new concept as a new colour.

The Lexus LF-LC was unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show earlier this year but reappeared in Sydney painted in a new hue: Opal Blue, reportedly inspired by the base colour of the Australian gemstone.

“World premiere” might be a stretch then but the concept coupe is indeed an impressive machine. It uses much of the carbon-fibre construction technology from the LFA supercar and is powered by a next-generation hybrid powertrain.

The high-energy battery pack is physically smaller than current production units, yet it produces 372kW, more than any other Lexus hybrid.

Falcon saved, sort of
Ford Australia president and chief executive Bob Graziano got the Australian media excited at the Sydney Show this week when he referenced the future for the “all-Australian Falcon” and displayed a fleeting image of a new look for the car, followed by a full-screen title reading “Falcon 2014.”

The crowd went wild … eventually, mostly in print. But is Falcon really saved?

Ford Australia has funding to take local manufacture through until at least 2016. If the 2014 really is all-Australian, it can only be yet another update of the current model.

The steep decline in Falcon sales – which have fallen nearly 30% so far this year in Australia, from a record low in 2011 – and Ford’s new world-car design/engineering ethos would not allow any other course.

Range Rover’s great range
Jaguar/Land Rover brought the big guns down to the Sydney Show this week.

The Jaguar F-Type and all-new Range Rover were both on display, with global operations director Phil Popham and design directors Ian Callum (Jaguar) and Gerry McGovern (Land Rover) presenting the vehicles.

The show was only the second public appearance for the Range Rover. Mr Popham confirmed that, aside from the conventional petrol and diesel versions of the new model, the company would also offer a diesel-hybrid Range Rover in 2013.

The model will be “sub-170g/km of CO2”, he says, so expect fuel consumption in the region of 6.2 litres per 100km. Not bad for one of the world’s largest and most luxurious off-road vehicles.

Hyundai vs loyalty
Two stalwarts of the Australian motor industry have jumped ship to join Korea.

John Elsworth is a familiar face to New Zealand media: he has spent his entire career to date at Holden and currently serves as executive director, sales, marketing and aftersales. From November 5, he will join Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HCMA) as chief operating officer.

Also joining HMCA is Bill Thomas, a former journalist with an international profile. Most recently editor of the highly regarded Wheels magazine, he is now general manager public relations for the Korean brand.

Mr Thomas has previously served as deputy editor at British publications Top Gear and Autocar, and contributed to The Times newspaper.

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