NOW that we’ve finally seen the production version of the Ford Everest – the Aussie designed and developed seven-seat SUV was unveiled in Beijing last week, of all places – the once top-secret engineering mules have stepped out to clock up real-world kilometres. Wheels has had several readers contact us over the last few days with snaps of a convoy of the locally designed and developed Ranger ute-based SUVs busting around the NSW south-eastern coastline as work goes on ahead of its global showroom debut early next year. Also spied: a Ranger ute – Ford’s best-selling model last month – wearing the new Everest face. Seen anything else that looks out of place? Let us know via email. Shout-out to Wheels reader David Wunsch for the Everest/Ranger images.
THE revolving door at Holden has almost spun to a stop after the shock announcement of the departure of Greek-born Gerry Dorizas late last month, but it could end up being rusted solid by the time his replacement arrives. Holden let slip at the launch of its facelifted Colorado trade ute this week that no decision on Dorizas’s replacement is likely to be made before the end of the year. Dorizas was appointed from outside GM circles, having previously worked for brands including Ferrari-flogging Fiat, fast family wagon maker Volkswagen and beer-budget luxury wannabe Hyundai. His strictly retail experience was an important part of Holden’s shift to a full-line importer once the tap is switched off on the locally made Cruze and Commodore range in late 2017. The bookies are favouring an Aussie expat who now heads up GM’s China bureau, Mark Bernhard, to replace him.
Hyundai on the hunt?
WHISPERS are circulating that Hyundai may be poised to launch an all-out assault on the Australian market next month as it tries to punch through the 100,000 sales barrier for the first time. The Korean car maker is currently sitting on almost 84,000 sales up until the end of October, about 3000 sales ahead of where it was at the same time last year. In its sights is RX-7 tragic Mazda, which is just over 100 sales ahead of Hyundai with a month and a half left until the books close on 2014. It’s a risk-laced strategy, though, as after the sunshine of factory cash helping cars to move out of showrooms, there’s the rain of the sales crash once the money dries up in the new year. Watch this space.
CATERHAM will race at Abu Dhabi this weekend, but whatever happens, it will be sour grapes for 230 of the penniless Formula One team’s workers who were summarily sacked this week. In other cash-strapped news for the team, Kamui Kobayashi will pilot one of the CT05 cars around Yas Marina, while the other will turn over to back-up driver – F1’s equivalent of third reserve orange juice squeezer to the goal umpire – and Formula Renault 3.5 regular Will Stevens despite a bidding war for his seat. It’s bound to be an exciting weekend on and off the track, with shooting star Vettel confirmed for a Ferrari seat in 2015 as scuderia stalwart Alonso polishes his resume for a possible return to McLaren, and the final double points round providing a big roll of the dice for catch-me-if-you-can Mercedes duo Hamilton and Rosberg.
Cash for dash
STILL on motorsport, crowdsourcing has suddenly become a viable form of campaign fundraising – a factor that shouldn’t be lost on certain V8 Supercars teams now that Ford Australia is stepping away from the sport. Team Brabham has raised enough funds via its public appeal to help it re-take to the endurance racing track, reeling in more than the quarter of a million pounds it wanted to build a race car and re-establish the legacy of Australian Formula One driver’s and constructor champion Sir Jack as a force to be reckoned with. The car it builds using the money will contest the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship, which includes the punishing Le Mans 24-hour race. Caterham, meanwhile, convinced enough people over the space of a month to hunt for loose change behind the couch and help it reap more than $3 million needed just to turn up to Abu Dhabi, let alone turn a wheel in anger. If the team fails to qualify, no amount of money will see it on track for a race start on Sunday.