Hot Topic Reporting season
Hot Topic Reporting season
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Car torque: Vanquish appears, vanishes

PLUS MG makes move toward Britain | Z helps Commodore finish | 

David Linklater
Fri, 21 Sep 2012

Vanquish appears, vanishes

Aston Martin’s all-new flagship, the Vanquish, made a brief appearance in Auckland this month as a pre-production example passed though on a promotional tour.

The $430,000 coupe replaces the DBS and boasts a body constructed completely from carbon fibre, plenty of styling inspiration from the One-77 supercar of 2010-11 and a new 6-litre V12 engine.

Aston still can’t let the cheesy Bond associations go: one of the colours in the new range is called Skyfall, after the forthcoming new Bond movie. In which blond Bond Daniel Craig drives the Vanquish, naturally.

The first New Zealand Vanquish will arrive at Auckland’s Independent Prestige in December and the distributor/dealer expects to make its first delivery in January 2013. It holds five orders already.

The Virage is being phased out, and the position immediately underneath the Vanquish will be filled by a new DB9 – also arriving early-2013.

In with the new, although something else caught my eye in the corner of Independent’s showroom while viewing the Vanquish: the DBS Ultimate Edition, one of just 100 produced worldwide to farewell the model.

It costs the same as a basic Vanquish, although the Ultimate Edition comes with Bang & Olufsen sound, diamond quilted leather seats, leather headlining, special interior trim and 20-inch wheels.

Independent Prestige’s car is No 50 of 100.

MG makes move toward Britain

Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation is steering its MG brand back toward Britain with an expansion at its Longbridge headquarters.

The company’s European Design Centre will double in size and provide facilities for up to five full-size projects to be worked on simultaneously.

The EDC will focus on MG vehicles and also provide input for SAIC’s China-only brand, Roewe.

The MG6 to be launched in New Zealand next month is still built in China, although it is expected that the MG3 supermini (due here in 2013) will be manufactured in the UK.

The British expansion is accompanied by the appointment of a new design director, Canadian-born Martin Uhlarik, who has previously worked for Skoda and Nissan.

Z helps Commodore finish

It is no secret that the replacement for Holden’s VE Commodore, the VF, will be launched in the second quarter of 2013 – into a market segment that’s still shrinking dramatically.

It’s not surprising that Holden is making moves to stimulate VE sales as the model heads towards runout. However, don’t expect those measures to include dramatic price reductions.

The just-announced Z-Series is a case in point, adding a massive range of standard equipment to the Omega, SV6 and SSV models.

Adding value rather than reducing prices is the only option in such a difficult segment, Holden New Zealand managing director Jeff Murray told me during a media function in Sydney this month:

“We have a job to do and that’s protect the new VF Commodore. It makes no sense to take thousands of dollars out of the price of a VE just to get it moving, then try and walk customers back up to a more realistic place when the new car arrives.”

David Linklater
Fri, 21 Sep 2012
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Car torque: Vanquish appears, vanishes