WR: Car Torque

Long range sales

If it has taken until the local launch of the new fourth-generation Range Rover to pique your interest, you might have to join the queue. This publication was the sole New Zealand media invitee to the international drive programme for the new model last year; the Range Rover landed here last week and the order books are now full until September. First to arrive are the SDV8 Vogue, with a 4.4-litre twin-turbo diesel engine, and the supercharged Vogue SE, with a 5.0-litre V8 petrol powerplant. The new models are priced at $210,000 and $255,000 respectively. Due mid-year is the one everybody’s talking about: the TDV6, which introduces a 3.0-litre turbo diesel to the lineup. It will be priced at $195,000. Motorcorp Distributors expects to sell more than 100 Range Rovers this year. That naturally reflects a high level of interest from early-adopting brand enthusiasts but it’s still an impressive number that would put the Range Rover second only to the Toyota Land Cruiser in the luxury off-roader segment. However, the Range Rover reaches further than that: now, as always, it also competes successfully with top-line luxury sedans.

McLaren anniversary

2013 marks 50 years since New Zealand racing driver Bruce McLaren formed Bruce McLaren Motor Racing. He died in a testing accident in 1970: at the time, his team was dominating Can-Am racing and went on to win its first F1 Constructor’s Championship in 1974. The lin-
eage of the current McLaren Automotive and McLaren Group of companies can be traced directly back to 1963, albeit through a chicane in 1981 when Ron Dennis (who remains executive chairman today) merged the company with his own Project Four Racing and bought out all McLaren shareholders. In addition to its current F1 activities, the modern McLaren is also on a mission to create a range of roadgoing supercars, the most recent being the acclaimed MP4-12C. Despite the New Zealand connection, there are no official McLaren distributors in this country. But rumour has it that at least four of the mid-engined machines have been imported by big-name motor industry concerns. There is a parallel import you surely can’t argue with – the cars belong here.

Changes warranted, says MIA

The Motor Industry Association (MIA) has endorsed the “pragmatic approach” of the government in extending warrant of fitness (WoF) inspection periods. Under new rules announced by Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges on Sunday, new cars will only need a WoF check after three years. Cars between three and 13 years of age will be checked every year, while those older than 13 years will remain on a six-monthly schedule. “The MIA was always in support of extending the time period between vehicle inspections,” chief executive officer Perry Kerr said. “We saw this issue as being relevant to vehicle owners and not one about job protection for the corner garage.” Mr Kerr said the new timeframes made sense for modern vehicles – especially new cars, which were serviced and checked regularly as part of makers’ warranty rules. However, Mr Kerr would have liked to see the government go further: “The one area of the review, which we see as a missed opportunity, was to restructure the annual vehicle licensing fee and to remove the ACC component … and to transfer this component into the price of fuel at the pump. This would therefore ensure those people driving the most kilometres were paying the highest ACC fee.”