Composite ‘4’ a prime number for Sydney collector…I spy with my little eye, something beginning with b…s..t!..Recyclers need to adjust sails for El Dorado?

If you think that Sydney property prices have gone mad, or that the Middle Eastern and Russian despots that fork out squillions for footballers are equally insane, then consider the lunatic, sorry collector, that  just forked out $2.45 million for a number plate.
That’s right, $2,450,000!
But, as with the football despots, there’s always a reason behind the madness and in this case it has to be the rapid appreciation of such items. This plate, No.4 for instance, was one of a set of just nine single digit, black and white plated issued by the NSW government. A few years back, No.2 fetched $689,000.
Little is know as to the full history of No.4 that first appeared in the early 1920s on a 1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost owned by Michelin tyre importer Noris Duval.
And that’s about it until more recent times when it was the rego number of Aussie Home Loans founder, John Symond’s roller.According to auctioneers Shannons’ Christophe Boribon: “The opportunity to acquire such a plate is exceptionally rare, as most single-digit plates remain in family hands, are usually passed down through generations and rarely, if ever, come onto the open market.”

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for a 1970 XW GT-HO Phase II sedan, regarded by many enthusiasts as one of the most desirable ‘Bathurst ‘higher option’ Fords of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s that went for a mere $215,000.


I spy with my little eye, something beginning with b…s..t!

The memory of those interminable trips up north for Christmas is seared into the brain of those baby boomers fortunate, or otherwise, to have parents that could afford a car. Endless miles, as it was then, of sweaty boredom on sick-making roads, punctuated by fights with siblings, stops at greasy cafes, or for Dad’s barbequed to death sausages, all to end up swimming in the same ocean as the one on the doorstep at home.

What a difference, nowadays, being swept along on a motorway in air-conditioned luxury watching a movies, or playing the latest on-screen game. Absolute heaven? Well, apparently not, according to new research by Ford Australia which found that, while 95% of parents feel family drives present an excellent opportunity for bonding, screen time was invading the boredom, sorry, experience.

Surprise, surprise, a whacking 76% of parents, with children aged 3 to 16 years, reported that their siblings are typically on a device, or watching digital media, during a drive.

According to practicing psychologist and Australian social commentator Sabina Read, who’s obviously not an FJ Holden baby boomer, believes it’s a habit Australian families should try to break…ha, ha!

“It’s worrying that these days people often seem more connected to a virtual world than to their own family, friends and what’s really around them. It’s important to find ways to escape our devices and reconnect with each other.”

Rave on Sabina. The only connection my boomer mates and I, can remember is mum or/and dad screaming at us to stop fighting, “or else we’ll stop the car and sort you all out”; “if you’re sick again, we’re going home” and ‘no, just shut up, we’re not there yet”.

But, according to Sabina, as hard as it may be, parents, partners and friends can reclaim personal and family time by going screen-free, such as on weekend excursions or a Sunday drive.

“Research tells us that car trips can provide a great social connection point, so it’s a worthwhile space and time Aussies should consider for family bonding and play. Findings show that time in the car can help spark kids’ imaginations and get them chatting and it doesn’t take long for them to open up either. Almost 48% of kids will open up within five minutes of being in the car, while 92% will open up within half an hour.

“The best conversations often happen in cars for a few reasons, from no eye contact to fewer distractions, providing a safe space for loved ones, especially children, to open up,” added Sabina…ha, ha!

“I spy with my little eye, something beginning with p… “No, you didn’t…”Yes, I did…”Mum, Nigel’s cheating…”No, I’m not…”Yes you are….”Oh for god’s sake, just shut up and watch a movie, or something…

As with all surveys, the finding should be taken with a pinch or in this case, a bucket of salt, and a clear understanding of the old saying about paying the piper and calling the tune.

So, not surpringly, additional survey findings included: 63% of Australians believe the car provides a great place and time for family bonding because it provides an escape from the demands of home life; 59% that it offers fewer distractions; 51% that they can listen to music (not the kids, apparently); 43% it offers an opportunity to enjoy the scenery passing by (Wow, who would have thought?).

63% of Australian parents believe the car provides a great place for family bonding mainly because ‘it’s good to escape the day-to-day demands of home life for a while; 59% found it offers ‘fewer distractions’ and 42% found it ‘easy to open up have conversations/ for children to open up for conversations’.

Hino employees show off their skills

For the second year in a row, Brandon Healey, a technician at WA Hino has won the Hino National Skills Contest, narrowly beating FRM Hino Hobart’s Luke Bennett and West Orange Motor’s (NSW) Tom Stewart.

The annual competition features 18 of Hino Australia’s most skilled employees from parts, service and sales departments. Sales and parts contestants demonstrated their skills in role play scenarios whilst service technicians were tested on their diagnostic and technical skills.

A ‘Sale of the Century’ quiz further tests the knowledge of the sales participants with parts contestants displayed their knowledge in identifying genuine versus non-genuine parts. Category winners received an all-expenses paid trip to Japan to watch the Hino Japan Skills Contest.

Full results: (Service) 1 Brandon Healey, WA Hino; 2 Peter May, FRM Hino Launceston; 3 Asa Pearson, CMI Hino Adelaide. (Parts) Tom Stewart, West Orange Motors; Ryan Macauley, CMI Hino Adelaide; Stan Voltemar, WA Hino. (Sales) Luke Bennett, FRM Hino Hobart; Adam Naccarata, CMI Hino Melbourne; Andrew Harris,

The event was held at Hino Sydney headquarters under the watchful eye of Hino Australia’s Steve Lotter and Shunichi (Sean) Takahashi who were joined by Shigehiro Matsuoka and Masashi (Max) Imaoka from Hino Japan.

BMW Australia continue to sell off the silverware

The BMW Group Australia has continued its retreat from the dealership side of the business with the sale of its South Melbourne and Southbank outlets to the Autosports Group. In a separate transaction, BMW is also selling off its Southbank property located at City Road, Melbourne.

The sale to Autosports Group includes BMW Melbourne, MINI Garage Melbourne, Southbank Motorcycles and BMW Bodyshop. The agreement carries provisions for the retention of current business operations, staff and processes and on completion the business will change its name to Melbourne BMW.

This acquisition gives ASG the chance to consolidate its brands of BMW, BMW Motorrad, MINI and Alpina and strengthens a move into the Victorian market, which includes the recent acquisition of Doncaster BMW and Bundoora BMW.

Despite flogging off the silverware, BMW Australia’s Marc-Heinrich Werner, reckons that the Melbourne business is critical to the future success of the company.

“The BMW Group is about to experience a massive influx of exceptional product in the Australian market, and we are ensuring we have a seamless network structure and partners to guarantee the highest levels of customer service.

“This sale represents an extension of an already-successful relationship with Nick Pagent and the ASG Group, and I am delighted to note this further commitment to the BMW brand.”

Solar energy goes through the roof

Audi has teamed up with a Chinese solar company to put thin-film solar cells in glass roofs. The idea is to generate solar energy that helps extend the range of an electric vehicle.

It’s the forerunner of what the carmaker sees as roofs almost entirely covered in solar cells, using the electricity generated to power features like air conditioning or seat heaters.  One of these days, the solar roof may even be able to directly charge the battery.

Audi reckon that the solar cells are remarkably efficient and perform well in low light. However, the company didn’t say how much electricity these solar sunroofs will potentially be able to generate, or how much sunlight will be required to run something like the air conditioning.

Toyota and Karma both offer solar roof options, but neither one is able to produce enough power on any given day to be much more than a novelty. If Audi actually does put a solar roof on one of its upcoming EVs, it’s unlikely that it will be much different.

 New tyre adds extra grip and stability

The all-new EfficientGrip Performance tyre from Goodyear is said to deliver significantly enhanced refinement and shorter wet weather braking distances for medium and full-size SUVs. According to some research or other, SUVs fitted with the new tyre slashed wet weather braking distances by as much as six per-cent and reduced on-road noise by up to ten per-cent.

Available in sizes from 16-20”, the EfficientGrip Performance tyre incorporates Goodyear’s QuietTred technology and improved footprint shape and pressure distribution resulting in less vibrations and regular wear throughout the tyre’s lifetime.

Then there’s FlexContact technology, designed with a shock absorbing cushion layer compound to provide a more comfortable ride and a hexagonal bead shape that is said to enhance rim contact.

“FlexContact technology is paired with new innovative polymers from Germany for increased grip in wet road conditions, ensuring superior wet weather performance, especially important in winter months and wider, reinforced shoulder blocks, with wider centerline sipes, offer increased contact areas to further enhance braking performance,” said the company’s Chris Delaney.

Recyclers need to adjust sails for El Dorado?

Someone once said that even though you can’t change the direction of the wind, you could always adjust the sails to reach your destination. And according to recycler Chris Daglis of PARTnered Solutions, the parts recycling industry would do well to check out its sails as the wind is definitely set to change.

Why? Well, about 70% of sales-as opposed to sails-are from high value mechanical components such as engines, gearboxes and transmissions. The advent of electric vehicles that do not have these components is a warning to recyclers of a change in the wind.

According to Chris, many recyclers are sticking their heads in the sand, saying that this is going to take a lifetime to change. Really? Volvo has gone public and made a commitment to only producing hybrid, or electric vehicles, as of 2019 and BMW has committed to 25% of its production being hybrid, or electric, by 2025!

So, is this really a threat?  Well yes, if we choose to ignore it. Of course, if we have fewer vehicles powered by engines then we will ultimately be selling fewer engines. The logical question is, what will replace these sales that make up a good majority of our top and bottom line?

In other words, where will a trimming of the sails lead us?

Hopefully towards high voltage batteries, sensors, electrical components, reversing cameras, dash header units, a myriad of computers and many more components that we have not yet seen. Every one of these components has something in common in that they are unbelievably expensive!

It seems simple then. We can just start selling these components and everything will be fine. Whilst it might not be as simple as that, it is nevertheless a great opportunity to head towards a new destination.

We will need to change. We will need to do things differently. We will need to meet more stringent standards and regulations. But, there is a wonderful opportunity that will become clearer to those that choose to take a more professional and proactive approach.

See, the issue with selling these components is the fact that they all fit into the ‘safety component’ or ‘hazardous goods’ categories. So, how does the automotive recycler guarantee that the lane guidance sensor, the collision avoidance sensor, or the computers controlling these sensors, are all in good working order when they remove them and sell them to the consumer?

Or, in the case of high voltage battery components, what systems, equipment and processes do we have in place to make sure that we handle, store and distribute these dangerous goods safely. And how can we help with the disposal of end of life batteries that we are replacing?

Furthermore, many of these components are items where demand will be driven through collision repairers and insurers. As an insurer though, authorizing the use of recycled safety components brings with it an element of risk. That is, if they authorize their use, they in fact advocate the use of the product and as a result take on, in the current model, the risk associated with anything going wrong.

As we can imagine, this is not a desirable outcome for insurers who want to mitigate risk as much as possible. Now, all that said, insurers are at the same time in a sticky situation.
Although collisions in the future are expected to be less severe, indicators are already pointing to a higher cost severity due to these expensive parts only being available from the OEM dealer network.  And we all know what happens to prices when there is no competition.

I think we can now see which way the wind is likely to blow. We have recyclers will need to replace engine sales with parts that currently are not widely used by the collision repair industry and insurers. But both will need to access these components as alternative to t new OEM dealer parts otherwise average repair costs will rise, or insurers will be forced to total loss more vehicles they’d like to.

Somehow, we need to find a happy medium, one, which makes our ‘new’ products attractive and gives the insurance industry the confidence to use them in the repair process.

If we are able to work together to find a path forward to using safe, genuine recycled components at a fraction of the price of a genuine parts, the consumer, the repair industry, the recycler and the insurer will all be winners.

We have the ingredients, demand and supply. But to set the ship in the right direction we now need to bring the demand side and the supply side together and find a model that will enable the trade of these new product lines.

If we can do this, these parts will generate great revenue for the automotive recycling industry and significant savings for the customer. The new destination my well turn out to be El Dorado.


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