Toyota

The Great Ute debate

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I need your help in deciding what ute to get.

Now for the purposes of this discussion we are talking about a double cab 4×4 ute…not some next to useless low slung fancy thing that is useless for anything other than carting around one bludger at a time.

Ok, so I have had a test drive of a Ford Ranger and at the moment I am testing a Volkswagen Amarok. I can’t test all utes out there, so I want to crowdsource my decision-making process…and possibly design the perfect ute along the way.

I need your help though and want to run a series of surveys to see where we end up, and to create a decision-making series of posts.

Today is the first post in the series…let’s start with the basics.

The premise of this discussion is origin.

Should origin be a deciding factor in the ute you buy?   Read more »

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Another sign of a healthy economy

1210-march-vw-amarok

New vehicle purchases are their highest since 1994.

Commercial vehicle purchases are up 20%, which is more tangible evidence of improved business confidence and expansion.

New Zealand continues to perform at levels not seen in decades: March 2014 is the best since 1994 at 11,238 registrations, up 18% year-on-year and bringing the First Quarter total to 30,824 units, up 15% on 2013. Commercial vehicles are up 20% in March and 19% year-to-date. In the brands ranking, Toyota (16%), Ford (10.7%) and Holden (8.5%) reign supreme as usual, but Mitsubishi is catching up, up 3 spots on February to #4 and 7.8% share, passing Hyundai, Mazda and Nissan.

In terms of proper blokes vehicles…utes…Ford has knocked Toyota off their perch.  Read more »

I need a new ute, got any ideas?

I am looking for a new ute, there are plenty on the market, but what should I get.

I need a double cab, 4WD, shoot off the back and running board capabilities and a tuff deck of some sort…having a bluetooth phone connection is handy but not essential.

A Toyota Hilux: The former go to truck for a good keen man. Though a few owners, both commercial and recreational tell me they aren’t as happy as they used to be with Toyota’s offerings now. They are also on the expensive side.

www.toyota.co

A Nissan Navara: People I know who have these trucks rave about them.

niis Read more »

Some poor bugger isn’t going to get their new ute!!

Somebody won’t be getting a new black Hilux ute.

Public service announcement: Positions Vacant. We seek a skilled spatially aware driver for our car transport company, must be aware of bridge heights!!

THIS truck driver might want his time over again.

He made an embarrassing misjudgement, trying to squeeze his car carrier under the M1 at Springwood but ended up smashing a ute perched on his trailer.

The incident was captured on dashboard cam by a shocked motorist about 5pm Wednesday.

As the truck goes to make a right-hand turn on to Underwood Rodad, the driver underestimates the height of his vehicle and smashes a black Toyota Hilux into the concrete bridge.

It was a near miss for other vehicles riding the carrier, the roofs of a VW buggy and white ute barely scrape under.

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Toyota bails, car industry now dead across the Tasman, killed by unions

Toyota has finally jacked it in, announcing they are closing their plant in Australia, joining Ford and Holden in halting manufacturing of cars in Australia.

The end of car manufacturing in Australia – confirmed with Toyota’s announcement that it would shut local production in 2017, taking thousands of jobs with it – could tip Victoria and South Australia into recession, industry experts and economists have warned.

The automotive giant’s global boss, Akio Toyoda, travelled to the Altona plant and told 2500 workers their jobs would go in three years. The decision is a massive blow for the Victorian economy in particular, where more than 25,000 jobs are likely to go across the car and automotive components industries. Unions claim 50,000 skilled jobs may be lost nationally. Toyota will follow Ford and Holden out of the country, with all three car makers announcing in the last year that they would cease manufacturing by 2017. All three brands will now import all their vehicles.

Those jobs weren’t real anyway…heavily subsidised, loans, grants and tax breaks for the companies. The unions can hardly complain with the workers heavily unionised and paid far above their actual worth or productivity justified.

That isn’t stopping them from blaming everyone but themselves.

Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten blamed Toyota’s demise on the Abbott government. ‘‘It’s an unmitigated disaster,’’ he said.

‘‘The car industry has died under the Abbott government. It’s a disgrace.’’   Read more »

One of Australia’s biggest corporate bludgers is finished

Time’s up for Holden in Australia, after having their hand out for ages in order to fund rapacious unions Holden is finally giving up the ghost.

Holden has made the decision to pull out of Australia as early as 2016, according to senior Government ministers.

The ABC has been told the announcement was supposed to be made this week but has been put off until early next year.  Read more »

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More bad news for owners of electric cars

It is bad enough that they are gayer than Fossy’s gay ute, but now there is more evidence that electric cars suck.

The depreciate faster than even Eastern European vehicles.

Electric cars lose more money through depreciation than any other type of car, according to new research from car pricing expert CAP Automotive.

CAP analaysed the prices paid for used cars up until the end of October 2013, and the results make alarming reading for anyone that has bought an electric car.

According to CAP’s figures, when broken down into fuel types, electric cars were worth on average just 20.2 per cent of their list price after three years, compared with diesel and electric cars, which retained 44.7 per cent and 43.6 per cent respectively.

The figures don’t take into account the Government’s plug-in car grant of up to £5,000 towards the price of an electric car, or any discounts on list prices, but still suggest that there is a big difference between how much buyers are willing to pay for used electric cars compared with their conventionally fuelled counterparts.

Hybrid cars such as the Toyota Prius (below) depreciated more slowly than any other type of car, however, with a retained value of 45.3 per cent over the same period.    Read more »

Bludging car making ratbags

They are as bad as farmers for sticking their hands out, but at least farmers don’t fund union coffers like these bludging ratbags do.

THE election is a referendum on the car industry, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has said while campaign in Adelaide today.

“If Mr Abbott’s elected what I fear is the industry will wither away because he believes it to be an industry of the past, not deserving of government support,” Mr Rudd said.

And his Industry Minister Kim Carr has dismissed criticisms of fringe benefits tax changes as “hyperventilation” and “nonsense”.

Mr Carr joined the Prime Minister today at Futuris, an automotive manufacturer in the electorate of Wakefield.  Read more »

The benefit of life without unions

Unions suck the life blood out of companies and industry. They add little and eventually suck the life out of their own members:

In 1914, Henry Ford doubled his employees’ wages to $5 a day and cut their workday to eight hours. He then hired more people. He didn’t do this out of benevolence. As Adam Smith wrote in “The Wealth of Nations,” “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.” It was in Ford’s interest to increase his company’s profits, and to do that he needed to attract the best workers he could find. When companies compete for workers, they get higher wages and better working conditions. Ford shortened the workday to better compete. Then GM and Chrysler matched Ford’s deal to keep up. Workers won.

All without a union. It wasn’t until 30 years later that the UAW appeared and unionized the workers. Union membership gave them good benefits for a while, but then growth slowed and stopped. That sure didn’t help workers. Consider what happened at GM. Over the past 20 years, much-less-unionized Toyota created 15,000 jobs — in America, not in Japan. Over that same period, GM lost 400,000 American jobs. One reason GM shrank was union rules. How’s that good for workers?

Unions cause class war against the bosses, without realising along the way it is the profit of those bosses that allow workers to benefit. When the profits cease then the workers suffer.

Of course workers have a right to unionize — it’s part of freedom of association. But to be effective, that right needs a free-market environment. That means no compulsory membership — free association, not forced association. Second, enterprise must be truly free and competitive, which means no privilege or favoritism from government — no bailouts and crony capitalism.

When enterprise is competitive, workers acquire more bargaining power because multiple employers bid for their services. Also, self-employment is a real option because no government barriers to entry prevent it (like licensing, zoning or complicated taxes and rules). As the great economics writer Henry Hazlitt pointed out, free unions can play a constructive role when they have to attract members by offering valuable services, such as information on the latest market conditions. But the market must be free in all respects.

Today, workers should know the downside of unionizing. It’s not just the cost of their union dues. It’s the opportunities lost in union shops because the rules limit entrepreneurs’ ability to change, adapt and grow. It’s that freedom — free enterprise — that gives America and workers the power to prosper.

Greens and nuclear power

The Telegraph

Tom Chivers attempts and fails to understand greens opposition to nuclear power:

I don’t like the idea of being “fundamentally opposed” to one of the most obvious available options for keeping our lights on. If it is shown to be safe and economic, then we should use it. It’s not a moral issue; it’s just one more tool, which we can use well or badly, safely or unsafely. Also: how can an energy technology be “elitist”? I literally don’t know what that means. Is it elitist because it’s hi-tech and third-world countries can’t easily make their own? Well, so are iPads, then, and Toyota Priuses. Or does the word “elitist” just mean “bad” in Green-land, in the same way that “natural” means “good”? [Edit: I can't believe I didn't pick up on "undemocratic" as well. Since when are power stations democratic institutions?]

As for it not being renewable: well, neither is sunlight or the wind, if you’re taking a sufficiently long view. Eventually the Sun will consume the last of its hydrogen and expand into a red giant, probably blasting the Earth to its constituent atoms as it does so. But that’s quite a long way off, so we don’t worry about that. In the shorter but still decently long term, even if no more uranium deposits are found (although they will be) and no more efficient ways of using it developed (although they will be), “total identified resources are sufficient for over 100 years of supply”, according to the IAEA. That ain’t nothing.

“Carbon neutral” is a bit of a red herring as well in this case. It’s true, nuclear power is not carbon neutral. But it’s much less carbon positive, if that makes sense, than fossil fuels. The perfect is the enemy of the good, as the saying goes: just because something isn’t the best possible, doesn’t mean you should ignore it if it’s an improvement over what is available. Furthermore, there is potential to improve the carbon emissions of nuclear; if it is made economically attractive to do so, companies will do it themselves. Targeted carbon taxes, or an auction of carbon credits, would work; certainly the latter did for industrial sulphur dioxide emissions.

Of course once rpesented with all that the Green types fall back on the “safety” issue. But that too is a fatuous argument:

It’s about safety. Nuclear power is unsafe. Look at Chernobyl, look at Three Mile Island, look at Fukushima. It’s dangerous, as the Greens say, and its cost, dangers and waste will be “passed on to future generations”.

But as Prof Paddy Regan says in our paper today, that’s false. Chernobyl killed about 50 people (28 people in the immediate weeks after; an estimated 19, according to the WHO, died of radiation-induced cancers in the following 20 years). Three Mile Island killed, and indeed harmed, precisely nobody. And Fukushima was the most ridiculous of all: as a vast earthquake and tsunami killed 15,000 people, the world’s attention was focused on a meltdown in a 40-year-old reactor which, again, killed no one at all.

How many have died from other energy sources?

Meanwhile, in the last 40 years, tens of thousands of people have been killed by failures at hydroelectric dams; hundreds more have died in coal mines, and of course thousands every year in the US alone from respiratory problems caused by fossil fuels. But the fear of “radiation”, evident in the nonsense scares about “electrosmog”, trump the very real dangers of other energy sources.

Right so how about we get ourselves some nuclear plants and have cheap abundant energy, please.