4 Wheel News January - March 2001
29 March 2001: Mitsubishi Motors Australia has been quick to try to damp down the fuss caused by comments in Tokyo that its Australian car factory has until mid year to convince head office that it can become profitable. However with Mitsubishi Japan facing losses after the quality control [scandal] and boss --> DaimlerChrysler having problems of its own, it is clear that Adelaide is not going to have an easy ride, although some of the tough talk may be attempts to extract favours from the Federal (election soon) and South Australian governments. The weak Australian dollar may be one thing on Adelaide's side.
24-25 March 2001: Ballarat 4WD Adventure Weekend (Show) [more...].
24-25 March 2001: ``Kathmandu'', Melbourne, is having a
sale of bush walking and camping gear,
24 March 2001: ``Last Mail from Birdsville - the Story of [Tom Kruse]'', on Channel Seven's ``World Around Us'', Saturday, 24/3, 6.30pm.
23 March 2001: The
foot and mouth crisis in the UK and Europe
continues to worsen.
Professor David King, the British government's scientific adviser,
says that the number of cases currently standing at 500+ farms
could rise to 4000 farms by mid year.
With recent cases in France and the Netherlands the prospects for
Europe are serious.
Travellers to Europe and the UK can anticipate restrictions
on movements in the countryside and perhaps the cancellation
of some large events.
20 March 2001, not sure what to make of this: "Volkswagen Secures AFL Match Ball Sponsorship", that's right, the Australian Rules football will now have the VW logo on it: The "three year sponsorship will see the Volkswagen logo appear on the official balls used at AFL matches during the Premiership Season, Finals Series and the Pre-Season Competition." VW has had a big presence at recent motor shows and is making a strong push into Australia.
March 2001, prices around town ($au exc' orc):
Terios from $18,790,
Frontera S 5-door $34,490,
Cherokee Classic from $36,990,
Grand Cherokee from $52,250,
Grand Cherokee V8 Ltd $59,990,
Sportage from 2×$12,995 (=$26K),
Discovery $45,463 &
Freelander V6 auto $37,950
Tribute 4x4 V6 $39,390 &
2-litre from $29,990,
Pajero GLS $45,990,
Patrol ST ZD30 turbo' d' $48,790,
100 series RV auto petrol $46,780.
19 March 2001: The price of crude oil rose on the strength of Opec's decision to reduce oil production by 1 million barrels per day from 1st April.
March 2001 LandRover recalls: Landrover recalls -->
Range Rovers re faulty radiator hoses which could blow causing
rapid loss of coolant VINS MA300000 - WA410481 June 94 to August 1998.
17-18 March 2001:
Pajero Challenge (Vic, au)
16 March 2001: Opec is expected to announce a cut in oil production to keep prices, now around US$25/barrel, up.
16 March 2001: The southern dry continues - a day of total fire ban throughout Victoria. (17th: Rain.)
15 March 2001: The Australian dollar hit a record low of 49.23 US cents before recovering slightly. This is not good news for the price of oil and imported cars.
15 March 2001: The VACC reports that almost 236,000 visitors attended the 67th Melbourne International Motor Show hich finished on Monday 12 March. This was equal to the second highest attendance ever recorded for Australia's longest running Motor Show. At the Shannon's auction, 62% of all items sold for a total exceeding $1.6 million.
14 March 2001: Cane Toads have been found in
Professor Peter Whitehead of the Northern Territory University's
key centre for tropical wildlife management, predicted
that native wildlife could be hit for decades to come
13 March 2001: News and rumours of a new extreme concept engine and car at Bugatti.
March 2001: Windscreens O'Brien calls for nominations for its biennial Australian community safety initiatives. Prospective nominees can contact (02)-9929-8444. Nominations close 15 October 2001.
March 2001: 19 year old Ryan Briscoe of Sydney, has been talent spotted for Toyota's racing driver development program. He will compete in Formula Renault Eurocup and Italian Formula Renault this year with Toyota support. Brsicoe has won multiple Australian go-kart titles, the 1998 North American Formula A championship and the 1999 Italian open Formula A Super championship [-Toyota].
12 March 2001:
Floods affect northern NSW from Ballina to as
far south as Port Stephens, near Newcastle.
The Pacific Highway has been cut near Grafton.
The poo has hit the river in Smithtown and Gladstone
after sewerage works flooded.
More rain is forecast for northern NSW and
9 March 2001, TruckTrial #87: New rules and registration
form (German, other languages coming soon) Neues reglement und anmeldeformular.
March 2001: Ford F250 and F350 trucks for Australia in a few months.
March 2001: Figures from National Statistics, UK, show UK car production for January 2001 was 129,000, down almost 12% from January 2000.
4 March 2001: Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) won the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park Lake, Melbourne. David Coulthard (McLaren Mercedes Benz) was second with Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari) third. Mika Hakkinen (McLaren) crashed, possibly due to a mechanical fault, while in second place early in the race. Tragically, a track marshall was killed when hit by flying debris from a crash between the cars of Ralf Schumacher (Williams BMW) and Jacques Villeneuve (BAR Honda).
March 2001: The Victorian Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs
is planning a Track Access Rally for the 24 March 2001.
A particular focus is on the Caledonia Track
in the high country which is still closed three years after
the bush-fires in the Alpine National Park
1 March 2001: Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, announced a reduction of 1.5c/L in petrol excise, effective from midnight. This should result in a fall in petrol prices of about 1.7c/L. The Prime Minister also announced that half yearly indexation would end. The dramatic policy reversal is seen as a move to placate voters in a general election year, with a Queensland by-election coming soon, and after bad state election results for conservative parties in W.A. and in Queensland.
28 February 2001: Britain's foot and mouth outbreak worsens by the day. Local authorities have been given emergency powers to restrict movements to try to contain the disease. Many horse racing events have been cancelled, and walking paths have been closed in national parks. It is possible that future large gatherings of people, such as at 4WD events may be cancelled. The disease, which infects cattle, sheep and pigs, can be spread by the movement of other livestock, vehicles and people.
28 February 2001: Ex T.C. Abigail is moving south in
the Gulf Country, and dumping a good deal of rain.
28 February 2001: Hans Tholstrup set a new Australian fuel consumption record of 43.5km/litre by driving a Honda Insight more than 1700kms from Brisbane to Melbourne on 37.75 litres of fuel [-Honda].
26 February 2001: Tropical cyclone Abigail reformed, now in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
25 February 2001: 4WD Swap Meet, Swinburne TAFE College, Wantirna, Vic'.
24 February 2001: Weak tropical cyclone Abigail brought rain to the area north of Cairns, Queensland, with the Daintree River at 11m and rising.
February 2001: Land Rover has had to reduce production of the Freelander 4x4 because BMW, which recently sold land Rover to Ford, cannot produce enough diesel engines.
20 February 2001: After two cyclones, there is now flooding in the Northern Territory in the Victoria River area, S.W. of Katherine. Flood waters are expected to reach Timber Creek about the 22nd.
February 2001 by email:
"Roberto Testore, Managing Director of Fiat Auto
and Jean-Martin Folz, President of the Group PSA
Peugeot Citroen, signed a letter of agreement on
January 29 2001 affirming the intention of two of Europe's major car and
commercial vehicle makers to continue the technical and industrial
cooperation in the sector of the light commercial vehicles and MPVs.
19 February 2001: Melbourne Citylink's Burnley (west to east) tunnel, which was only recently opened, sprang a leak in the morning and remains closed until engineers determine what measures should be taken. Traffic congestion is the inevitable result. Many alternative routes were narrowed, e.g. by the removal of clearways, when the tunnel opened.
February 2001: DaimlerChrysler is suing General Motors for violating its trademark on the Jeep radiator grille, saying GM's grille for the new SUV Hummer `H2' is too similar to the Jeep's vertical bars. You'd have to think that DC might have a tough battle because the original Hummer has a vertical-bar grille which was not challenged.
"The Department of Transport has given official approval
for mass sale of Australia's first
petrol-electric hybrid car, the Honda
Insight." [-Honda .au]
Fuel consumption figures of 3.6L/100km city, and
2.8L/100km highway, are claimed.
18 February 2001, right: The Victorian 4WD Show, Wandin.
15 February 2001: Tropical Cyclone Vincent, now off the NW coast
of Western Australia, looks set to cross the coast between
Broome and Port Headland.
15 February 2001: The bikini worn by Ursula Andress in
February 2001: "Ford Australia
is recalling about 97,000 6-cylinder
Fairlane and LTD
vehicles built between October 2, 1999 and January 31, 2001, to replace a
rubber throttle cable grommet. The grommet, which helps to attach the
throttle cable to the engine, may become damaged through consistent hard
acceleration. If it is not replaced the vehicle's accelerator may be
rendered inoperative, resulting in a sudden loss of power. V8-powered
vehicles are not affected.
February 2001: Extended warranty on VW Transporters for Feb' and March.
February 2001 by email:
17 & 18 Feb' is the first bike weekend of
the year at Emu Creek (NSW).
We are starting this year with a bang. There will be plenty of tracks
to explore, the mud drags area will be open to slid around in,
a spit roast on a bun for Saturday night dinner, bacon/ sausages and
egg rolls for Sunday breakfast and heaps more. Don't forget the
hot showers and flush toilets, perfect for the family.
After the recent floods, the creeks and dams are full so the
swimming is wonderful -
and Nissan to develop a joint mid-size car platform.
February 2001: Mercedes-Benz asks owners of A-class models built between September 2000 and January 2001 to "visit their workshop." A seal used in that period may cause increased brake pedal travel at temperatures below freezing point. Mercedes-Benz will replace the master brake cylinder at no cost.
10 February 2001: Tropical cyclone Winsome in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
February 2001: Rover will be back, again, at the Melbourne Motor Show.
3 February 2001: Corgi release a real
but where's Manuel? - Neil Linger.
3 February 2001: Flooding around Lismore in NSW has cut roads.
30 January 2001:
Autohit.com (26/1/'01) reports that Ford is considering a 4x4 version of the
front wheel drive Ford Mondeo estate.
Kyodo News Service (17/1) reports that General Motors,
a major shareholder in Isuzu Motors Ltd.,
has suggested that Isuzu's share of the SUV market
is relatively small - not that GM wanted Isuzu to stop making
SUVs, but . . .
29 January 2001, via Julio Florez:
Chrysler Group will
"reduce its workforce by approximately 20 percent"
over the next three years, most of the reduction taking place in 2001.
Chrysler Group President and Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche said:
"We are taking these actions at this time, in order to accelerate
improvement in Chrysler Group's financial performance.
The full Chrysler turnaround plan will be presented
to the public at the DaimlerChrysler Annual Press
Conference on February 26, 2001."
26 January - Australia Day.
24 January 2001:
The Australian Federal Government has chosen a
remote desert plateau north west of Woomera in South Australia
(SA) as its
preferred location for a low-level nuclear waste dump.
Nick Minchin, the Industry Minister, said that site 52a,
which is known as Evetts Field west, is inside the
Woomera prohibited area and was chosen after
rigorous scientific evaluation.
There will be an environmental assessment of this site and
of two other sites nearbye.
Low grade solid waste in steel or concrete drums would be buried
in trenches at the dump [-sofcom news].
prices, $au, from 1 Feb'.
22 January 2001: Victoria has introduced a
50km/h speed limit on residential and
feeder roads (down from 60km/h) unless otherwise sign-posted.
21 January 2001: Jutta Kleinschmidt and Andreas Schulz in a Mitsubishi Pajero won the "car" section of the Paris - Dakar offroad rally.
January 2001: Most drivers know that talking, or thinking about something other than the task at hand, reduces one's attention to driving and should be suspended in difficult situations such as overtaking or negotiating difficult intersections. Researchers M. Recarte and L. Nunes in the J. Experimental Psychology (3/'00) report that performing mental tasks while driving changes the eye movements of drivers. Test subjects drove along a number of set routes and were asked to perform "verbal" or "spatial" mental tasks - respectively reciting words beginning with a given letter, or answering questions about the shapes of a give letter. This caused significant changes to the eye movements of the drivers as they looked at the road ahead, and checked mirrors, and dashboard intruments: Drivers moved their gaze less often, over a smaller field, and looked less at intruments when busy o mental task. Visual tasks had the biggest effect, possibly because they use the same mental processes required for watching the road etc.. Journal of Experimental Psychology [6(1) pp31-43] March 2000
19 January 2001: A Friday, and boing, petrol is back up to the 90c's. Crude oil is back around US$30/barrel, and OPEC does plan to reduce production, but the rise at the pump has nothing directly to do with that.
19 January 2001: After stage 18 (of 20) in the
Fabrizio Meoni (KTM) leads the bikes overall,
Hiroshi Masuoka (Pajero Evo) leads the cars, and
Karel Loprais (Tatra) leads the trucks.
January 2001: News on the 2001 Melbourne Motor Show coming up in March.
Ford showed an Escape hybrid electric vehicle (HEV),
based on the Escape 4x4,
at Los Angeles. Ford plans to put the HEV into production c2003.
It uses a 4-cylinder engine (v. the standard V6)
plus an electric motor.
Manufacturers are turning to
because the small petrol motor cruises efficiently and gives good range,
the electric motor can assist at peak power, operate alone
from a battery during low power demand, and generate
electricity during (regenerative) braking. [-Neil Linger]
15 January 2001, What Women Want: An Australian survey of women car buyers found that 40% felt that they were treated in a "sexist and patronising manner" by car dealers. This is despite the often demonstrated fact that women have great influence when it comes to buying the "family car" (and of course also buy cars purely for themselves). A second survey about service centres and repairers "found 20 per cent of women felt service centres did not understand their requirements and 30 per cent said repairers did not explain clearly what repair or service was necessary." [-sofcom news]
15 January 2001, after stage 14 of the Paris
Last year's winner, Schlesser, is making a fight of it with a stage win
and good performances in other recent stages.
Volvo prices, $au.
14 January 2001: Temperatures in the mid 40's°C
are forecast for Victoria. It is a day of total fire ban.
... Roy Halvorsen had a much cooler trip in Siberia last spring.
14 January 2001: Getting down to the business end, and after stage 12
the places in the "car" section of the Paris
January 2001: Bentley to return to sports car racing.
January 2001: North American International Auto' Show [Detroit].
11, 12 January 2001:
Smoke from bush fires on King Island in Bass Strait,
and from other fires between Melbourne and Geelong, carried
across much of Victoria.
7 January 2001:
Kia is sponsoring the Australian
7 January 2001, Los Angeles Motor Show:
is to go ahead with production of the
F-type sports-car, to rekindle the
E-type's spirit. The F-type will be smaller and
more affordable (ha!) than the XK Jag's.
7 January 2001: Schlesser buggies hold the lead in the "car" section of the Paris-Dakar Rally.
Chrysler will reduce production, by about 25% of early-2000 levels,
in early 2001.
Jeep will end production of the Jeep
in about mid 2001;
it is to be replaced by the new Jeep Liberty.
January 2001: The Dodge Powerbox (right) is a concept vehicle with a hybrid powertrain indicating what might be offered in this vein in the Dodge Durango and relatives c2003. The Powerbox Los Angeles --> show car has an electric motor which drives the front wheels and a V6 supercharged (de: kompressor - Daimler) compressed natural gas (CNG) engine which drives the rear wheels. This is said to give V8-performance, low emissions and fuel consumption of 9L/100km (25mpg US); it is a little hard to understand the fuss given that efficient (European) turbo-diesels have been acheiving that for decades.
7 January 2001:
The Australian death toll for the Christmas/ New-Year period
stands at 74, but New South Wales had a collective run
of madness accounting for 36, nearly half the total.
4 January 2001:
After stage 3, just early days yet,
Hiroshi Masuoka and Pascal Maimon in a Mitubishi Pajero EVO
lead Jean-Louis Schlesser and Henri Magne in a Schlesser buggy
in the "car" section of the
Paris - Dakar.
Vladimir Tchaguine and Ilguizar Mardeev in a Kamaz
lead the truck section.
4 January 2001: Petrol prices are dropping - down to 86.9c/L for unleaded in Melbourne.
News of the 2001 Estonian 4X4 Off-Road WinterTrial,
2 January 2001: Melbourne (unleaded) petrol prices have been around 94.9c/L over the holiday break; they have started edging down now - to about 91.9c today, or 89.9c at some independent stations.
2 January 2001: A stinking hot day and a day of total fire ban across western & mid' Victoria, including Melbourne.
1 January 2001: The year started cold
in the northern hemisphere with snow and freezing conditions
across North America, UK and Europe.
1 January 2001: The
Paris - Dakar
starts, from Paris this year,
heading into Spain, then Morocco, Mauritania, Mali and Senegal.
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