This week in news: January 2-6 2023
Happy new year!
We publish a ton of car news stories during the working week (70-odd as a rule), and it can be tough to keep up with everything – which is the rationale behind this weekend list.
In short, here are some key articles from our news desk since Monday of this week summarised, just in case you missed them at the time.
Results are in!
New vehicle sales grew 3.0 per cent in 2022 despite widely publicised supply issues, finishing up at around 1.08 million units for the calendar year.
Annual sales data (VFACTS) shows that 1,081,429 new cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles were delivered in 2022, making it the best result since 2018 when 1,153,111 vehicles were sold.
Industry-wide sales for December 2022 jumped 12.1 per cent, giving the market some momentum heading into the new calendar year.
MORE: Australia’s new car sales results for 2022
Japanese icons team up on EVs
Two of Japan’s industrial giants are working on a new EV joint-venture company, with the prototype seen here set for a 2025 launch.
The joint-venture between Sony and Honda to make electric cars will be branded Afeela, the companies announced at the CES tech show in Las Vegas.
The first Afeela EV from Sony Honda Mobility Inc. will be a sleek sedan, somewhat reminiscent of a Hyundai Ioniq 6 or Tesla Model 3, with a targeted 2025 start of production.
MORE: Sony Honda Mobility’s EV brand to be called Afeela
Toyota to tackle Ranger Raptor… sort of
Toyota has revealed its tougher-looking and more powerful flagship HiLux, due here this year.
The Toyota HiLux GR Sport has what the brand calls a Dakar-inspired design, and will be the most powerful diesel HiLux it has ever offered locally.
The company says it expects the dual-cab GR Sport to arrive in the second half of 2023. Pricing has yet to be revealed, but will almost certainly be above the $70,200 before on-roads sticker of the current Rogue range-topper.
MORE: 2023 Toyota HiLux GR Sport revealed for Australia
Santa Fe’s new style
A much brasher and all-new Hyundai Santa Fe seven-seat large SUV will launch this year, but probably won’t make it to Australia until 2024.
Hyundai confirmed as much in a sales wrap for 2022, stating its three big launches for 2023 will be the new-generation Kona, the Ioniq 5 N electric hot hatch, and the new Santa Fe.
The current Santa Fe only (somewhat) recently received substantial upgrades, with Hyundai claiming the 2021 mid-life update saw it move to a new platform shared with the Kia Sorento.
MORE: Brash new Hyundai Santa Fe to be revealed in 2023
Concept cars galore
Concept cars. We all love them, both for what they themselves offer and for what they promise.
Last year had some crackers, previewing the next generation of largely electrified and connected vehicles before they hit the road.
From near production-ready glimpses through to moonshot passion projects, here we check out 20 that grabbed our attention – with no more than one per brand.
MORE: 20 coolest concept cars from 2022
What’s in a name? Lots
SsangYong the company has been saved, but SsangYong the name will be consigned to the scrapheap.
In remarks reported by Korean media, Kwak Jae-sun – the chairman of SsangYong’s new corporate parent KG Group as well as the automaker itself – said the firm will be renamed KG Mobility and new models will be launched under the KG brand.
“We have decided to go for a new name to fully utilise the strength of SsangYong Motor,” said Kwak at an event hosted by the Korea Automobile Journalists Association.
MORE: SsangYong name being dropped under new ownership
Ram charges forward with EV pickup
Ram has revealed its 1500 Revolution BEV concept at this year’s Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada.
This concept previews the production Ram 1500 BEV due to go into production in 2024 which will be shown off “in the coming months”.
It will go head-to-head with vehicles including the Ford F-150 Lightning, Chevrolet Silverado EV, GMC Hummer EV, GMC Sierra EV, Rivian R1T, and Tesla Cybertruck.
MORE: Ram 1500 Revolution EV pickup concept revealed at CES
Which EVs were the most popular last year?
The five most popular electric vehicles (EVs) in Australia last year were all made in China.
Sales of electric cars across Australia nearly doubled in 2022 to 33,410 vehicles, equal to about 3.0 per cent of the total new vehicle market.
Factors like sky-high fuel costs, a strong shift to BEVs from luxury brands, and the proliferation of state and federal rebates and tax benefits all helped. Ongoing shortages did not…
MORE: Australia’s top-selling EVs in 2022
Next 3 Series previewed?
BMW has revealed its futuristic electric i Vision Dee concept at this year’s Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada.
This BMW i Vision Dee – Dee stands for Digital Emotional Experience – concept provides a glimpse at what the design and technology will be in the German carmaker’s upcoming range of EVs based on the modular Neue Klasse platform.
As previously reported, the Neue Klasse platform is set to debut in 2025 on a 3 Series-sized vehicle, which will be pitted against the Tesla Model 3. An X3-sized electric SUV is understood to be the second vehicle.
MORE: i Vision Dee EV concept revealed at CES
Bizarre name, brutal design
BYD’s promised premium sub-brand has launched its first vehicle, the Yangwang U8, a rugged-looking SUV in the mould of the Land Rover Defender – but with four electric motors.
Reports from the launch in China show an upright design with a blingy grille, headlights rather like a Nissan Patrol, squared-off wheel arches with sheet metal blistering, aerodynamic flush door handles, and a chunky D-pillar ahead of the tailgate-mounted spare wheel.
But rather than being mechanically like a Defender it’s more akin to the upcoming all-electric Mercedes-Benz EQG, though at a reported 5300mm it’s longer even than a GLS.
MORE: BYD reveals luxury electric SUV
It isn’t all gloom for Tesla
Tesla says it delivered more than 400,000 electric cars to customers in quarter four of 2022, up 31 per cent over the Q4 figure from 2021.
The company additionally reported calendar-year 2022 deliveries of more than 1.31 million cars, 40 per cent greater than it achieved during 2021.
To put Australia into context, Tesla claimed 17,328 cars delivered to the end of November, meaning it should finish up around the 20,000 mark for the full-year 2022.
MORE: Tesla posts all-time record deliveries amid headwinds
A Greater Wall
Great Wall Motor (GWM) has launched its new, more premium Shanhai Cannon pickup at the Guangzhou Auto Show, following the vehicle’s original reveal in August last year.
Billed as a “new large-scale high-performance luxury pickup” to sell alongside the familiar GWM Ute, the new Shanhai Cannon will offer V6 petrol power, or a ramped-up 2.4-litre diesel option.
Based on GWM’s “off-road tank platform” – understood to be close to the new Tank 300 SUV’s – the GMW Shanhai Cannon looks to be more capable than the existing and cheaper GWM Ute.
MORE: New GWM ute launched, with petrol and diesel power