AUTOMOTIVE technology company Veoneer, Inc. has launched its state-of-the-art suite of collision mitigation technology on Volvo's new fully electric Polestar 2, which is due in Australia later this year.

Veoneer begins production of its advanced sensing technology and software aimed at enabling the Polestar 2 to become a leader in the next generation of car safety, in tuen with Volvo's mission.  

The system allows the Polestar 2 to gather information and data about its surroundings and the trajectory of vehicles around it to assist drivers to avoid potentially hazardous situations. 

Key components of the technology suite include Veoneer's fourth-generation mono vision system, 77GHz front radar, and a state-of-the-art ADAS Electronic Control Unit (ECU). The Polestar 2 is the first vehicle to use the Zenuity sensor fusion software platform enabling industry-leading features like object detection, lane keeping aid, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, and traffic assist.  

Veoneer's front 77 GHz radar unit and windshield-mounted mono vision camera keeps the Polestar 2's eyes on the road to take preventative measures whenever something encroaches on its path ahead.

Everything from disabled cars to pedestrians can be noticed by the Polestar 2, which then warns the driver (via a brake pulse, audio warning signal, and visual warning signal in the driver display) and then brakes automatically if needed. Automatic pre-braking, steering support, and incrementally tightening seatbelts also come into play, maximizing safety for the occupants.

Veoneer's fourth-generation mono vision system is designed with a 100-degree field-of-view and 1.7 megapixel resolution to support ADAS features necessary to achieve 5-star ratings for Euro NCAP.  The system comprises fully integrated hardware and algorithms using deep learning technologies that identify objects such as cars, road markings, or road signs.

Veoneer's newest generation of 77GHz radars have improved performance and provide reliable and accurate situational awareness of objects surrounding the vehicle. 

Veoneer's radar design has improved waveform and operates at extended ranges needed to achieve 5-star ratings for Euro NCAP.Veoneer's ADAS ECU is the 'ADAS brain' of the vehicle which hosts a sophisticated software feature stack along with feature software from other sensors to interpret the situation around the vehicle, and trigger ADAS features such as emergency braking or cross traffic alert.  Veoneer's ADAS ECU is designed to be an open scalable hardware and software architecture that hosts algorithms.  

"We are excited to start deliveries of Veoneer's fourth-generation mono vision cameras, upgraded 77GHz radars, ADAS ECUs and industry-leading feature software on the all-new Polestar 2, allowing drivers to interact with the Polestar and its surroundings in an advanced new way,"  Jan Carlson, Veoneer chairman, president and CEO said. 

"Veoneer is proud to bring new levels of safety and convenience to car drivers and occupants across the globe and the Polestar 2 is the first vehicle equipped with these advanced systems."

Mr Carlson said Veoneer, Inc. is a worldwide leader in automotive technology.

"Our purpose is to create trust in mobility," he said. "We design, manufacture and sell state-of-the-art software, hardware and systems for occupant protection, advanced driving assistance systems, and collaborative and automated driving to OEMs globally."

Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, Veoneer has 7,600 employees in 13 countries. In 2019, sales amounted to $1.9 billion.

The company is building on a heritage of close to 70 years of automotive safety development. In 2018, Veoneer became an independent, publicly traded company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: VNE) and on the Nasdaq Stockholm (SSE: VNE SDB).

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JUST a few days since the shock announcement of General Motors' retirement of the Holden brand for good, the value of Holdens have been projected to have at least doubled, according to Lloyds Auctions.

“We have been flooded with enquiries coming through our Classic Car Division Nationwide over the last 24 hours or so with people wanting to buy a Holden showcasing a surge in demand for the vintage vehicles,” Lloyds auctions chief marketing officer Brett Mudie said.

“It really shows that the market has responded immediately and is indicating that the market for Holdens will sky rocket as we have seen the interest soar in the last day,” he said.

“The value of Holden Classics has always been strong but this evidence that has come to us in the last day suggests that it is more than likely to create a booming market for them,” Mr Mudie said. 

In the past Lloyds have broken multiple records across different model Holden classics, where the very first Holden Dealer Team HT Monaro 57D also sold for $500,000 in the same year.

“We actually anticipate that the HT Monaro 57D has doubled in value overnight being worth seven figures just under three years later,” Mr Mudie said.

A HSV GTS-R W1 even surpassed its recommended retail price at auction by six figures with the brand-new 2017 Holden W1 auctioned in the same year of its release.

A $2.1 million record was broken for Peter Brock's dual Bathurst winning VH Commodore back in October 2018.

The first 1977 A9X Torana off the production line also smashed Australian sale records selling for $365,000.

Mr Mudie said there was "no doubt that Australians love the iconic Holden brand and even enthusiasts from their biggest rival, Ford, don’t want to see Holden go.

“As a company very passionate about motoring we are saddened by the fact that we focus so much attention on important issues like these after the fact, when we have already lost something such as this iconic Aussie brand,”  Mr Mudie said.

“Holden is and will continue to be a part of many Australian households, back in the day you were either a Ford family or a Holden family and you would never actually date anyone who wasn’t passionate about the same car side as your family.

“For anyone unsure on what to do next we encourage them to jump on the phones and give us a call to discuss, we are more than happy to talk any time of the day,” Mr Mudie said.

www.lloydsauctions.com.au

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By Mike Sullivan >>

GENERAL MOTORS (GM) has retired what it referred to as ‘the Holden brand’ from sales in Australia and New Zealand. GM will also turn the lights out on its Australian design and engineering operations by 2021.

The slim glimmer of hope for Australia maintaining its capabilities in auto design on a global stage – Holden designers and engineers did, after all and against the corporate odds, develop GM Chevrolet’s wildly successful modern Camaro ‘pony car’ that famously starred in the Transformers movies and re-launched the brand – has been extinguished forever.

Perhaps a clue to what was to be in Holden’s future could have been drawn from the fact that even though that highly successful modern Camaro was designed and developed on Australian-made Commodore right-hand-drive underpinnings, it was never allowed to be made or sold here in local guise.

GM also announced on February 17 that Maven and Holden Financial Services operations would be wound down in Australia, in the same media statement, but the public seemed unbothered and it is unlikely tears would be shed for those operations. 

But Holden cars? That’s different …

 

‘DIFFICULT DECISION’ MADE EASY

The public statements by GM officials were big on staff and dealership empathy but small on real explanations for ‘Holden people’.

They were losing money … couldn’t justify new investment … global markets and free trade deals were involved somehow … no real numbers were offered and the old allegations that GM would have bailed out of Australia during the Global Financial Crisis (or Great Recession, in US parlance) had it not been for the regular supply of Federal Government money to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, seem more on the money than ever.

GM international operations senior vice president Julian Blissett said GM had taken the “difficult decision” after implementing and considering numerous options to maintain and turn around Holden operations. 

“Through its proud 160-year history, Holden has not only made cars, it has been a powerful driver of the industrialisation and advancement of Australia and New Zealand,” Mr Blissett said. 

“Over recent years, as the industry underwent significant change globally and locally, we implemented a number of alternative strategies to try to sustain and improve the business, together with the local team.”

A number of alternative strategies … was it one or 10 or 100 or a thousand? All are numbers. And what were these strategies, exactly? Surely, with a number of strategies the public would have been consulted on at least a few?   

Or maybe it’s like politics now and ‘data’ and polling and research fall wide of the mark, so it’s hard to draw decent conclusions. Holden’s strong enthusiast market was, after all, all but lost when manufacturing ceased here, so it was no use asking them.

What would they know? They are paying four or five times the price of a recent model Calais for a restored HQ Holden Statesman V8 … and a HK Monaro 327 V8 is worth a motza more than the current two-door sports couple offering … which is a? …oh, there isn’t one.  

The Holden-istas were probably too busy watching the Ford-Holden Supercars battles at Bathurst – cheering for Holdens – to fill in the unrewarding online surveys about the future of their chosen machines anyway.

So, Mr Blissett said GM undertook a detailed analysis of the investment required for Holden to be competitive beyond the current generation of products. He said factors impacting “the business case for further investment” included the highly fragmented right-hand-drive markets, the economics to support growing the brand, and delivering an appropriate return on investment.

“After comprehensive assessment, we regret that we could not prioritise the investment required for Holden to be successful for the long term in Australia and New Zealand, over all other considerations we have globally,” Mr Blissett said.

Holden, a company with fiercely loyal customers in search of local GM cars that appeal to them, could not be profitable enough, fast enough. It seems.

It is a market problem with a solution abandoned long ago: make the cars in Australia that Australian people want to buy. Then export them to right-hand-drive markets with similar ideas and requirements (New Zealand, South Africa, Britain, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, New Guinea … the so-called fragmented markets are, what, too small?) 

“This decision is based on global priorities and does not reflect the hard work, talent and professionalism of the Holden team.”  While that is true, it is also very, very sad.

It translates: the bean counters in the USA don’t think Australia amounts to a hill of beans.

LIGHT AT THE END OF THE WIND TUNNEL?

GM did announce that it intended to focus its growth strategy in Australia and New Zealand on the “specialty vehicles business” and plans to immediately work with its partner on developing these plans.  

That partner (why didn’t they name them?) is probably HSV, part of the TWR motorsport empire and doing very well. HSV already does fine – thank you very much – out of converting big Chevy Silverado trucks and Camaros to right-hand drive and upgrading them for Australian conditions.

Rumour has it that they will be allowed to bring in the sensational new mid-engine Corvette – which can be manufactured on the line in right-hand drive – and that is sure to be a huge seller in Australia. It starts as a $60,000 car in the US and could possibly retail for under $100,000 in Australia, with a performance envelope that troubles far-more-expensive F-Type Jaguars, Ferarris, Maseratis, Porsches, BMWs and certain rare Japanese GT racers.

But in the absence of any confirmation of such refreshing speculation, GM officials were speaking with lips atremble at the media conference.

GM Holden interim chairman and managing director Kristian Aquilina said, given the significance of Holden through its history, it was “critical the company worked with all stakeholders to deliver a dignified and respectful wind-down”. 

“Holden will always have a special place in the development of our countries. As Australia and New Zealand grew, Holden was a part of the engine room fuelling that development,” Mr Aquilina said. 

“Today’s announcement will be felt deeply by the many people who love Holdens, drive Holdens and feel connected to our company which has been with us for 160 years and is almost ubiquitous in our lives.  

“Unfortunately, all the hard work and talent of the Holden family, the support of our parent company GM and the passion of our loyal supporters have not been enough to overcome our challenges. 

“We understand the impact of this decision on our people, our customers, our dealers and our partners – and will work closely with all stakeholders to deliver a dignified and respectful transition.”  

But Holden customers near not fear, it’s all going to be fine … for a while, maybe 10 years, at least.

Holden spokespeople said customers can be assured that the company will honour all warranties and servicing offers made at time of sale. Holden “will provide servicing and spare parts for at least 10 years, through national aftersales networks in Australia and New Zealand”.

As required, the GM media release said, Holden and its aftersales network will also continue to handle any recalls or safety-related issues if they arise, working with the appropriate governmental agencies.  

“Impacted Holden employees will be provided separation packages and employment transition support,” the media release said. 

“Holden will work with its dealer network on appropriate transition arrangements, including offering dealers the opportunity to continue as authorized service outlets to support Holden customers,” the release also said.

What GM's release did not say was: “Sorry we let Australians – especially Holden people – down.”

What motoring enthuiasists wanted GM to say was: "Sorry we let you down, our company could not find a way to make Holden work profitably enought for us ....

"But it's okay, because we have left Holden's heritage and pedigree with a future, by selling it to an Australian company that can make it work. We wish it all the best for the future."

Great going, Holden.

www.holden.com.au

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ONE of Australia’s most popular Australian motor racing teams, Walkinshaw Andretti United, has donated an inspirational package to raise funds for those affected in the current bushfire crisis.

The Melbourne-based race team will put to auction their six crew and two racing suits from the 2020 racing season, along with the winning bidders name or company inside driver Chaz Mostert’s car, and a weekend at this year’s Bathurst 1000 with the team. 

“We are honoured to be able to donate such a unique experience to the Lloyds Bushfire Relief Auction, with all of the proceeds going towards the Salvation Army,” Walkinshaw Andretti United co-team principal, Bruce Stewart said.

Lee Hames, chief operations officer at Lloyds Auctions, expressed his gratitude for the support from Walkinshaw Andretti United.

“We are blown away by this donation from the team at Walkinshaw, and we hope to raise a great amount of funds, with 100 percent of proceeds going towards the Salvation Army.

“This item is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and we highly encourage all of those race car fans out there, who are able, to jump on and bid to help support our fellow Australians in need during this tough time,” Mr Hames said.

Walkinshaw Andretti United’s ultimate experience, going under the hammer, is just one of many enticing items on offer, with a series of Lloyds auctions to come over the coming weeks, potentially raising millions of dollars.

“We are still continuing to receive items, it has not slowed down, the phones are ringing,” Mr Hames said.

“We are very grateful for support we have received from the community, businesses and celebrities. We are continuing to process more items on the website every day and we are looking forward to raising funds to support those in need right now.” he said.

“As these unprecedented bushfires tear through Australia, we want to help as many fire-affected lives as possible.” 

Bidding for the Bushfire Relief Charity Auction is now live at www.lloydsauctions.com.au and items to add to the auction, such as rare items or experiences people can bid on, call Lloyds on 1800 456 588.

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TWO AUSTRALIAN-BASED online platforms in the automotive industry, Dealer Trade Holdings Limited and CarRecord Limited and their subsidiaries, are being offered for sale. The founding shareholders said they were seeking to "leverage opportunities for continued expansion of the successful platforms in Australia and the key USA and UK markets".

Dealer Trade Holdings is an unlisted public company headquartered in Brisbane, completing a product expansion into the United Kingdom in 2017 and with the launch of CarRecord in the United States in July 2018.

“The opportunity for growth in these markets is substantial,” Dealer Trade Holdings chairman Jarrod Sierocki said. “We’ve enjoyed first mover advantages with our technology platforms in two auto markets which were ripe for disruption. 

“We agree that now is the time to seek a suitable buyer who will have the capacity and reach to be able to achieve significant market penetration on a global scale.”

The sale process is being managed by the company’s corporate advisor, KPMG's Sydney office.

Dealer Trade is a virtual wholesale vehicle auctioning platform exclusively for motor dealers, manufacturers and fleets. Through the app, wholesalers can immediately auction traded cars to other connected wholesalers in the market.

Mr Sierocki said it has over 60 percent of all motor dealers connected in Australia and was the first mover to digitally disrupt the traditional operating wholesale market of used cars. Launched in 2016, Dealer Trade has expanded to the UK and with plans underway to expand to the USA, along with discussions with global major auto manufacturers for direct dealership transactions.

In August this year, Dealer Trade announced a partnership with ŠKODA UK to provide their dealer network with a cost-effective online remarketing solution. This followed an earlier deal with LDV UK, one of Europe’s most recognised commercial vehicle brands.

CarRecord is an online platform which sources and collaborates vehicle history and data. It produces an instant automated comprehensive report based on multiple data sources including vehicle valuation (including odometer comparison), stolen and insurance checks and manufacturer recalls. Almost half of used vehicle buyers in Australia perform a background check.

Launched in Australia in 2016 and the US in 2018, CarRecord has plans to roll out in the UK in 2020.

In the US, CarRecord is one of only 10 approved National Motor Vehicle Title Information System data providers, a US Justice Department program to collaborate vehicle data. In Australia, the company has a reseller agreement with ebay-owned Gumtree, which has around 7,000 new vehicle listings per day.

www.dealertrade.com.au 

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THE WORLD’s most luxurious automotive marque, Rolls-Royce, has landed in Brisbane, capping off a year of successful expansion Australia-wide – and unveiling two unique models.

The first Rolls-Royce Motor Cars showroom in Newstead has a breathtaking luxury retail and hospitality presentation, with a bespoke full-service customer lounge and lifestyle-themed settings that feature – of course – Rolls-Royce leather, paint and wood veneer samples and a vehicle configurator system.

This showroom was launched on December 11, providing Australia’s first look at a new generation Black Badge Cullinan grand luxury sports-utility vehicle (SUV) and Australia’s only Phantom Extended Wheelbase with Privacy Suite.  

The showroom opening has capped off cap a successful year for Rolls-Royce in Australia, marked by an expansion drive that has included the company’s first SUV, its Black Badge ‘alter-ego’ sibling and demand for its Bespoke Collection models such as Wraith Eagle VIII. 

Asia Pacific regional director Paul Harris, and Asia Pacific regional sales manager for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Ian Grant, presided over the launch, together with dealer principal Rob Thomson and brand manager Andrew Jackson, along with the executive team from Rolls- Royce Motor Cars Brisbane.

Speaking at the press conference on the day of the unveiling Mr Harris said, “We regard Brisbane as a new luxury destination hotspot that has become an increasingly attractive residence for our customers. It now competes with some of the world’s wealthiest cities as a most desirable place to live and work.

“With this new lifestyle-themed facility, and a highly contemporary and appealing range of Rolls-Royce models like Phantom, Cullinan, Wraith, Dawn and our Black Badge range, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Brisbane is well-poised to tap on the growing demand for super- luxury goods. Brisbane provides a platform to showcase the brand to both established and new patrons while serving as a sales and service hub to the rest of Queensland.” 

OWNERS HUB

Queensland Rolls-Royce owners now have a new home in Brisbane with the showroom, strategically located along Breakfast Creek Rd in Newstead. This is in the heart of Brisbane’s strip of luxury, exotic and sports cars brands.

Dealer principal Rob Thomson said the new Rolls-Royce Brisbane hub is housed in a purpose built, innovative space, the new facility representing “the new pinnacle of luxury retail in Brisbane”. There is a ground-floor car showcase, an intimate three-car display space in a beautiful first-floor showroom, undercover customer parking as well as 15 long-term car storage spaces exclusively for customers.

He said the dealership, with 300sqm of floorspace, provided an elevated focus on the customer and features lifestyle-themed elements in the Bespoke lounge “to match the chic burgeoning sophistication of the city perfectly”. 

A Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ownership Services Centre is also located nearby, where a highly experienced, Rolls-Royce trained team ensures fast, accurate servicing and maintenance with three dedicated service bays for Rolls-Royce motor cars. 

The launch of the Brisbane showroom featured the first public showing of the Black Badge Cullinan in Australia, as well as the brand’s flagship, Australia’s only Extended Wheelbase Phantom with Privacy Suite.  

“Cementing Brisbane’s coming of age, particularly in the super-luxury sector, the Newstead showroom represents an exciting new chapter for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars,” said sales manager Ian Grant.

“This is exactly why we chose to debut two of our most unique motor cars at the new showroom launch.”

To celebrate the launch, the dealership created an evening of cocktail and canapés for customers, curated by chef Josue Lopez of hatted restaurant The Wolfe, an interactive luxury pop- up for guests to explore by luxury partner Paspaley and a unique performance with DJ duo Midnight Tango and OperaQ together.

Guests had ample opportunity to experience the latest model in the Rolls-Royce range on show.  The new Brisbane showroom completes a quartet of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ authorised showrooms in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.

ABOUT THE RARE CARS

Guests at the launch were among the first in Australia to experience the Black Badge Cullinan.

Black Badge reflects the desires of a distinct group of Rolls-Royce clients: men and women who take risks, break rules and build success on their own terms. The new Black Badge Cullinan completes the ‘family’ of Rolls-Royce motor cars, defining taste patterns of a new generation of super-luxury consumer. Its 6.75-litre V12 engine delivers increased power (600PS) – instead of horsepower, Rolls-Royce today uses the equivalent term PS, which stands for Pferdestrke (literally, ‘horse strength’) – and torque (900Nm) over the standard model and has a re-engineered drivetrain and chassis for enhanced dynamic performance.

The company said the Black Badge Cullinan has been introduced as the “darkest, most urban expression of the range yet, representing the first time the marque’s proprietary Architecture of Luxury (bespoke spaceframe aluminium chassis) has undergone the Black Badge treatment. The new model is aptly named ‘King of the Night’. Created to satisfy overwhelming demand from younger, more adventurous clients, Cullinan in its silver badge guise was launched to global acclaim in 2018, immediately becoming the world’s pinnacle super-luxury SUV. Combining luxury in its purest form with genuine practicality and off-road capability, Cullinan unequivocally delivered on the promise of an experience that is described by the company as ‘Effortless, Everywhere’.” 

The Phantom Extended Wheelbase with Privacy Suite, part of the Phantom VIII range, represents a wholly new, contemporary design interpretation and is the flagship for Rolls-Royce worldwide. And it also comes with a whole lot of branded superlatives from Rolls-Royce, such as:

“It’s bespoke, aluminium ‘Architecture of Luxury’ helps deliver a whole new level of ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ because it is lighter, stiffer, quieter and more technologically advanced. ‘The Embrace’ enhances the sense of occasion and effortlessness of entry into Phantom’s ‘Suite’. The super luxury cabin, 220mm longer than the standard model, re-defines Rolls-Royce comfort and refinement inside – already the benchmark for any mode of conveyance. A world’s first – ‘The Gallery’ – is an unprecedented new concept in luxury that reinterprets the motor car’s dashboard for the first time in 100 years.

“Rolls-Royce patrons are able to commission a truly individual work of art that spans the width of The Gallery in their New Phantom. The Privacy Suite, only available on the Extended Wheelbase Phantom, is an innovation that provides unrivalled levels of privacy and luxury. The ‘Magic Carpet ride’ is further enhanced by an effortless 6.75 litre twin-turbo V12 engine making Phantom the most silent and technologically advanced Rolls-Royce ever.”

www.rolls-roycemotorcars-brisbane.com

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By Leon Gettler >>

IMAGINE parking your car with the assistance of software, web and apps and IoT (information of things) equipment that allows you detect the proximity of other vehicles, along with other services such as access controls and licence plate recognition.

It’s all designed to create a more frictionless parking experience through technology.

Welcome to the world of Parkable, a Deloitte Fast 50 winner, which provides staff parking solutions for enterprises and small businesses and a sharing economy-style public parking app. Parkable has also just entered the China market. 

Toby Littin, the CEO of the Auckland based company, said the aim was to create a better parking experience and better use of car park real estate.

And in China, that has become critical with its rising middle class.

“Car ownership has gone through the roof, we’re now seeing EV (electric vehicle) ownership going through the roof, and that’s led to a situation where there’s a shortage of car parking in certain areas that’s more extreme than we see in the western world which gives rise to a real need for technology-based solutions to help manage that,” Mr Littin told Talking Business.

GIANT PARKING MARKET

The exciting part for Parkable is they have just entered China, one of the world’s biggest car parking markets. The company is based in Shanghai and spreading through some of China’s tier one cities such as Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Mr Littin said with the complex political and economic landscape of China, Parkable needed partners to get into the market.

It decided the best way to go was through a joint venture, so it teamed up with an investment group identified by its network. The investment group specialises in working with companies that want to introduce their technology into China.

It took Parkable 18 months to nail down that relationship.

“The thing in China is your success is hinged around the quality of your relationships,” Mr Littin said.

“The team up there have outstanding relationships into business and government and with the full complement of staff and supporting infrastructure, it really means we can get a head start on our ambitions up there.”

RIPE FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLES

One of the most fascinating aspects of the China venture is that the country is now the leading market for electric vehicles, creating enormous opportunities for Parkable.

Mr Littin said the big issue in China, and one which will be replicated around the world, is that non-EV vehicles are sitting in EV parking spaces, which means EVs can’t get in there to charge the car.

Parkable creates a system that allows EVs to reserve their parking spots.

It is partnering with EV-charge manufacturers in China to make it all happen,

Mr Littin said Parkable was also looking to expand into Singapore, North America, the UK and Europe. 

“There’s 35 countries we’re keen to expand through,” he said. “We’re at number three so it’s still early days.”

www.parkable.com

www.leongettler.com

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at www.acast.com/talkingbusiness

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