Question: How many vehicles were sold in Australia in the first half of the year?
Question: How many electric vehicles were sold in Australia in the first half of the year?
Answer: 8688 (or about 1.6 per cent of the total vehicles sold).
So forget the headlines about one million per cent increase in EV sales in Australia. If your base is zero or 354 vehicles then the percentage increases will look super. (A bit like my podium last year at Eastern Creek … next door to the Eastern Creek Resource Recovery Park … sounds like somewhere to take the kiddies post Covid till you smell it … off a base of last and second last for the 10 previous years.)
Then we have “outspoken Volkswagen Group Australia chief Michael Bartsch” telling the media Australia was becoming an “automotive third world” and a “dumping ground for older and less efficient vehicles”. Mr Bartsch is deputy chair of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, “which came up with the voluntary CO2 reduction plan in 2020 in the absence of federal government action”.
This is interesting because last month in Braunschweig district court (20 readers, one friend and one son who is in the will unlike the other ungrateful eight … including new son-in-laws partners … and grandchildren … if you haven’t been, hotfoot it to Braunschweig on the first available Bonza flight … it’s hot!), the VW Dieselgate scandal – that has affected more than 9 million cars under the Volkswagen, Audi, Seat and Skoda brands sold around the world between 2006 and 2015 – came to trial. During those nine years, VW engineers even “improved and refined” the software, charges to be dealt with by the court claim.
Germany’s national broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, says: “The charges levelled against the defendants include organised commercial fraud and tax evasion. The grounds for the charges are that thousands of former VW customers were able to claim tax credits in Germany for the vehicles’ alleged low emission levels.
“In Germany, organised fraud can be punished with up to 10 years in jail. According to previewed court documents, all of the defendants will testify that they had either passed on their knowledge of the manipulations to their superiors and therefore cannot be held responsible, or that they didn’t know anything at all about the wrongdoings. At the centre of the Dieselgate storm, CEO Martin Winterkorn, meanwhile, continues to adopt a three-wise-monkeys’ attitude towards the German public and the prosecution. Having resigned from his post within days after the scandal broke, he was just as quick to deny ‘any wrongdoing’ in his job as CEO.”
Compare that to my new favourite car company, Mercedes-Benz. The bosses at Merc have committed to making the AMG’s twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 for another 10 years. Sure it’s had a few quality problems, but then again most of us have. And it didn’t stop Valtteri Viktor Bottas winning the Turkish GP last Sunday in a V6 Merc.
Yes Pablo might have controlled 80 per cent of the cocaine going to the US, might have been the richest criminal ($40bn) in history and as the New Yorker’s Jon Lee Anderson puts it; “a murderer, a torturer, and a kidnapper … but he was loved by many in Medellin”, had a passion for Porkers and was a classic car collector. Expect to pay $1.5m. Cash will be fine.
Another Xmas gift idea is the Australian-made rover that will run around the moon looking for signs of life much like John Lethlean and other people do in Adelaide. This is not the same Rover (1904 to 2005) that has hade more owners than Rover owners have had tows and is now owned by Tata’s Jaguar Land Rover (England used to be the world’s biggest exporter of cars, now it’s the world’s biggest exporter of Indian cars). No, this Rover will be built in Australia much in the same manner as the nuclear subs and will have a budget of $50m, which we should expect to hit $1bn by the time the little car is finished.
Talking of our friends in the mother/father and person land, reader number seven, Hobart Jack, telexed me yesterday to say: “With too many Pommy mates, love the term ‘soap dodgers’ – although you could substitute ‘shout’ and ‘work’ for ‘soap’ and still be correct. Seem to have very long pockets and shorter arms as well!” We report. You decide.
Finally a big shout to our friends Garry and Barry Rogers, whom this section’s own John Stensholt exclusively reported has taken control (with some others) of Supercars. (John does the rich list, which is excellent but, as yet, has not got onto the untold wealth that makes Pablo Escobar look like a pauper from a Charles Dickens novel, of the Sultan and me.) John says former owner, private equity group Quadrant Equity, took the bulk of a $200m hit on the sale (can’t be true, PE never lose money) and that the new owners believe they can triple the value overnight by tapping into the vast audience of this paper’s business section and sponsoring the very consistent Weekend Australian Rally Team (WART).