We publish a ton of car news stories during the work week (70-odd as a rule), and it can be hard to keep up with everything – which is the rationale behind this weekend’s list.
In short, here are some of the key articles from our news desk since Monday this week summarized, in case you missed them at the time.
Mazda revamps its cheapest model
The Mazda 2 is almost a decade old but there are no signs of a replacement, with the Japanese brand instead giving the light car another facelift.
It will go on sale in Australia in June 2023, with deliveries starting in July.
Pricing will be announced closer to launch, but Mazda says the local 2 range will continue to consist of Pure, Pure SP, Evolve and GT variants. Currently, the GT is the only trim that still offers a sedan option.
FULL STORY: 2023 Mazda 2 facelift revealed, Australian deliveries start in July
Genesis convertible prime confirmed
The Genesis brand is reportedly set to get its first convertible.
Automotive News reports the Korean luxury brand will introduce a production version of the Genesis X Convertible concept, which was revealed at last year’s Los Angeles motor show.
American Genesis dealer Peter Lanzavecchia, also chairman of the Genesis National Dealer Advisory Council, said Genesis chief creative officer Luc Donckerwolke confirmed the model at the annual dealer meeting.
FULL STORY: Genesis X Convertible concept enters production – reports
Audi pickup concept… sort of
The fourth member of Audi’s forward-looking ‘Sphere’ concept car series is an off-road capable electric crossover that relies on augmented reality controls.
The five-metre-long Activesphere (4.98m to be specific) has a luxurious four-door coupe silhouette but the height and tires of an off-roader. Maybe this is the future of the sleek, traditional luxury car?
Additionally, the rear hatch area can be converted into an open cargo bed – Audi calls it “active rear” – at the touch of a button, making it a potentially interesting addition to Audi’s Allroad range.
FULL STORY: The Audi Activesphere concept is a pickup coupe with AR technology
Kia’s answer to the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is getting closer
No, that’s not a typo. Kia Australia is finally bringing the Sportage Hybrid (or HEV) to Australia, and it may arrive early next year.
Talk with Car ExpertKia’s local boss for product planning, Roland Rivero, confirmed production of the local model will begin in South Korea in the fourth quarter of 2023 ahead of an early 2024 sales launch.
The timeline is in line with Kia’s typical pattern of introducing new models at the Australian Open tennis grand slam, of which the Korean brand is an official partner and recently extended its contract until 2028.
FULL STORY: Kia Sportage Hybrid finally confirmed for Australia, coming 2024
Porsche reinvents the icon
The legendary Porsche brand was born as we know it in 1948, when 356 No. 1 Roadster obtained its general operating permit.
The company has now delivered a birthday present with the Porsche Vision 357, a design study and homage that brings the “monolithic form of the 356 into the present”.
It also gives some clues as to what we can expect from future Porsche sports cars, although the Vision 357 is a concept that is “exempt from the rules that apply to implementation as a series model”.
FULL STORY: The Porsche Vision 357 design concept reinterprets an icon
The Polestar 2 update has the Tesla Model 3 in mind
The single-motor variant of the Polestar 2 electric liftback is set to switch from front-wheel drive (FWD) to rear-wheel drive (RWD) as part of a newly announced update.
Polestar today detailed a number of changes for its Tesla Model 3 rival, including a new electric motor setup and battery that brings more power and range, revised exterior styling and additional standard features. Although not confirmed, we also expect some price increases.
Australian customers will be able to order the 2024 Polestar 2 in the second quarter of 2023 via the Polestar Australia website. The first shipment is expected in the third quarter of this year.
FULL STORY: Polestar 2 moves to RWD, in Australia from Q3
Used car price normality to resume?
Australian wholesale new vehicle prices have fallen 12 per cent from their peak in May 2022, as normalcy returns to the wider supply chain and demand for beloved cars cools.
The Q4 Used Vehicle Price Report found that used car prices have now fallen for seven consecutive months, and in January 2023 they experienced their first year-on-year decline since May 2020.
Additionally, used car prices are expected to continue to come back down to earth in 2023 as the supply of new cars improves, and demand weakens due to higher borrowing costs and inflation.
FULL STORY: Used cars keep getting cheaper, new research finds
Bend eight burbles
The world is going electric, but the old V8 isn’t dead yet. Just ask General Motors.
The group’s sixth-generation V8 small-block engine will be built in Flint, Michigan, using components made in Michigan, Ohio, and New York on the back of a US$854 million (A$1.2b) investment announced this week.
When it goes into service, the engine will be featured in “full-size truck and SUV” models. What role it will play in the sports car space is less clear, as the Corvette E-Ray shows a clear intention to bring a GM icon to life.
FULL STORY: General Motors invested $1.2b to keep the V8 alive
Akio is out as CEO of Toyota
Akio Toyoda, grandson of the automaker’s founder, and one of the most colorful automotive chiefs in recent Japanese history is stepping down as Toyota CEO.
He will be replaced as president and CEO on April 1, 2023 by Koji Sato, who currently heads both Lexus and Gazoo Racing. Sato will remain in charge of the luxury and sports brands after becoming company boss.
Sato has been with Toyota since he graduated from Waseda University in 1992 with a mechanical engineering degree.
FULL STORY: Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda steps down, replaced by Lexus and GR boss
The badass BMW M3 CS appears
BMW has revealed a tougher – lighter, tougher and more powerful – M3 CS flagship sedan ahead of its world premiere this weekend at the 24 Hours of Daytona.
As we expected, the M3 CS gets an upgraded inline-six, a retuned chassis and extensive use of carbon fiber to make it more badass than its sibling. It shares many similarities with the BMW M4 CSL revealed last May, only it offers a more practical interior and all-wheel drive instead of rear-wheel drive.
It will be in Australia in limited numbers from the second half of 2023, priced at $249,900 before on-road costs.
FULL STORY: 2024 BMW M3 CS revealed
Ferrari hits on EV noise booster
Electric vehicles are known for being quiet and Ferraris are not. However, the upcoming Prancing Horse brand EV could offer its own soundtrack that can be heard by both occupants and passers-by.
In a filing with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) found by CarBuzzFerrari has patented a system that will “allow the driver and passengers to enjoy, in the passenger compartment, quality sound that is… very pleasant for them”.
Ferrari filed the patent in the US on January 5, 2023, about six months after filing the patent in Italy.
FULL STORY: Ferrari patents “engine noise” for EVs
Hyundai DCT recalled due to potential power loss
Hyundai Australia has issued a recall for 8466 vehicles across several model lines, over an eight-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) issue where drivers may experience a sudden loss of power.
“The software logic for the ‘fail-safe’ driving condition is not set up to respond properly when certain transmission oil pump malfunctions are detected in dual clutch transmissions,” the company said in its recall notice.
“Loss of motive power while driving at high speed can increase the risk of an accident. This has the potential to result in injury or death to vehicle passengers and other road users.”
FULL STORY: Hyundai Australia recalls thousands of vehicles for DCT fault
Volvo is skeptical about the driverless car timeline
Fully self-driving cars won’t be a reality for a long time even as the technology matures, says Volvo’s current global chief Jim Rowan.
He also called the current system of classifying self-driving cars into five levels ‘nonsense’, and said unfounded claims about the development of driverless vehicles no longer boosted stock values as they did a few years ago.
The Scottish-born CEO of Volvo Cars (and former Dyson boss) was in Melbourne last week as part of a tour of the backwaters of his business, and gave some time to the local media.
FULL STORY: Volvo boss says autonomous cars ‘far away’, and people know it
Australia is a big problem for Chery, again
Chinese company Chery is expected to return here in the coming months, initially with the small SUV Omoda 5 before the launch of a wider scale product is intensified in the next 12 months.
And – no pressure or anything – the entire organization is pinning its hopes on the company’s local success and future product plans.
The automaker has a history of playing in developing markets, traditionally offering low-cost models that are basic in features, engineering quality and even trade safety inclusions for a cheaper price tag.
FULL STORY: Chery says Australia is a focal point, with priority supply – here’s why