September 27, 2023


Just Do Automotive

Australia’s hottest automobiles, and their lacking years

7 min read

We regularly have to attend some time for autos revealed abroad to make their technique to Australia.

For each car just like the first-generation Kia Niro, which arrived only a yr earlier than its substitute was due, there are a number of autos the place we’ve ended up lacking out on whole generations.

In some instances, it’s as a result of the car was solely ever designed for different markets, or wasn’t produced in right-hand drive. In different instances, it’s as a result of an organization’s native division doesn’t see a spot for the car.

On this article, we’ll have a look at a couple of examples of the place we’ve missed out on a era of a car that ended up changing into a top-seller… as soon as it lastly received right here.

Ford Everest

Ford has provided the Everest in Australia since 2015 as a wagon model of its fashionable Ranger ute. Previous to that, the Blue Oval model provided the Raider from 1991 to 1996, a rebadged Mazda Proceed Marvie and subsequently a wagon model of the Ford Courier/Mazda B-Collection twins.

However there’s a lacking hyperlink right here, and that’s the first-generation Everest. Supplied from 2003 to 2015, the Everest – recognized in some markets because the Endeavour – was a Ranger-based SUV designed for southeast Asian markets.

Revealed on the Bangkok motor present in 2003, the Everest value US$100 million to create. Inbuilt Thailand and assembled from utterly knocked down (CKD) kits in India and Vietnam, the Everest retained the 1998-vintage ute’s styling from the B-pillars ahead however integrated a wagon rear finish with a 3rd row of seating.

Nevertheless, it retained the dwell rear axle and leaf springs of the Ranger, in contrast to the second-generation Everest which upgraded to coil springs. All up, it measured 4958mm lengthy, 1805mm extensive and 1835mm tall on a 2860mm wheelbase.

Engines consisted of a naturally aspirated 2.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and a 2.5-litre turbo-diesel 4, with a alternative of rear- or four-wheel drive with selectable low vary gearing.

The Everest obtained a number of facelifts throughout its run, sometimes to align it visually with the associated Ranger. It by no means got here right here, nonetheless – Ford had the US-sourced Explorer after which the Territory to supply to patrons on the lookout for a three-row SUV.

With native manufacturing ending, Ford Australia wanted a substitute for the Territory and subsequently developed the second-generation Everest, which continued to be manufactured in Thailand however was now exported right here.

Volkswagen Caddy

Earlier than the Caddy was a Golf-derived van, it was a Golf-derived ute.

Referred to as the Rabbit Pickup within the US, the place the Golf was constructed and offered because the Rabbit, the compact ute was launched in 1979 and provided a 1.83m-long mattress.

Being a car-derived ute, it had little direct competitors in addition to the Subaru Brat (aka Brumby); the Dodge Rampage/Plymouth Scamp wouldn’t arrive till the Eighties.

The Pennsylvania-built Rabbit Pickup spawned the Caddy in 1982, inbuilt Sarajevo till 1992 when warfare broke out; it was additionally produced in South Africa, the place small bakkies have been fashionable.

Remarkably, it continued being produced in South Africa till 2007. Much more remarkably, it was outlived by the Mk1 Golf-based Citi Golf, which lastly exited manufacturing in 2009.

Volkswagen quotes worldwide gross sales of 207,000 autos for the first-generation Caddy.

Confusingly, the second-generation Caddy in Europe was really two separate fashions, each mere rebadges of present autos throughout the Volkswagen Group empire.

The brand new Caddy ute, launched in 1996, was a Skoda Felicia Utility with the Volkswagen badge slapped on it, and was sourced from the identical Czech plant because the Skoda.

The opposite Caddy was a bulbous van, manufactured in Spain. This was a rebadged SEAT Inca, the van model of the SEAT Cordoba and comparable in fashion to the Holden Barina/Opel Corsa-derived Combo.

The Volkswagen model additionally rebadged the Cordoba sedan and wagon as Polos in Europe, and the Ibiza hatch because the Polo Playa in South Africa.

The brand new van spawned a folks mover variant in 1997, rivalling the likes of the Citroen Berlingo Multispace. All up, the varied second-generation Caddy fashions together with their SEAT and Skoda relations accounted for 520,000 gross sales.

With the third-generation Caddy, launched in 2003, the car was as soon as once more based mostly on the Golf. Manufacturing moved to Poland, and exports commenced to Australia.

Toyota Camry

The primary Toyota Camry was launched right here in 1983 as an imported front-wheel drive five-door hatchback, offered alongside the extra conservative rear-wheel drive Corona. This was the primary era of Camry, and entered manufacturing in 1982, with different markets additionally receiving a four-door sedan.

This wasn’t the primary car to make use of the Camry identify, nonetheless. This mannequin was pre-dated by the short-lived Celica Camry sedan, launched in 1980 and offered solely in Japan.

Toyota has a well-established Japanese supplier community with separate channels. Till 2020, solely sure Toyota autos have been offered in every channel, and for a lot of autos Toyota would sometimes do subtly totally different variations to distribute throughout every supplier channel.

For instance, whereas we obtained the Cressida right here, Japanese clients had the choice of this together with subtly totally different Chaser and Cresta relations.

So it was that the Celica Camry was merely a model of the mid-sized Carina sedan for Toyota Corolla Retailer dealerships within the land of the rising solar.

It was offered alongside the two-door Celica which, although mechanically associated, seemed fairly totally different. It additionally gave these sellers a sedan bigger than the Corolla to promote.

The Celica Camry was scarcely totally different from the Carina in look, maybe most simply recognized by the distinctive T on the grille. The vary consisted of 1.6-, 1.8-, and a pair of.0-litre four-cylinder engines, and most fashions featured a dwell rear axle.

Up-spec variants just like the sporty 2000GT upgraded to four-wheel unbiased suspension with a semi-trailing arm set-up on the rear.

The Celica Camry was successfully a stopgap mannequin, with the Camry changing it at Toyota Corolla Retailer dealerships. True to type, Toyota additionally launched a frivolously restyled model of the brand new front-wheel drive mannequin known as the Vista, provided by means of its Vista sellers.

So far, that is the one era of Celica to ever be provided with 4 doorways.

Lexus ES

Whereas the Lexus ES isn’t a high 10 vendor in Australia, it’s one of many extra fashionable autos in its section. It was the second car launched by the model domestically and has remained a principally constant presence in Lexus showrooms in Australia, however we did miss out on a few generations.

Whereas the ES debuted domestically in 1992, the nameplate first appeared within the US again in 1989 with the ES250.

Lexus had been developed with the US market entrance of thoughts, with the LS400 designed to sort out the very best luxurious sedans from Germany. However Toyota evidently didn’t wish to introduce the model with only a single mannequin, so the LS was accompanied by the ES250, a model of the Japanese-market Toyota Camry Outstanding.

The SC coupe, often known as the Toyota Soarer in Japan, adopted in 1991.

Nissan had carried out an identical factor with Infiniti, additionally launched in 1989 with a specifically designed flagship sedan (the Q45) supplemented with a few extra reasonably priced fashions. However just like the Infiniti M30 (a Nissan Leopard in Japan), the Lexus ES250 was an older car.

The V20-series Toyota Camry and its spinoffs had entered manufacturing in 1986, so the ES250 was a car already midway by means of its mannequin cycle. It additionally seemed uncomfortably like a Camry, and was the one front-wheel drive Lexus.

It was not less than based mostly on the distinctive “hardtop” sedan physique fashion not provided by the Toyota model within the US, and forewent four-cylinder engines for the standard 116kW 2.5-litre V6 mated with both a five-speed guide or four-speed automated.

It undercut the Acura (née Honda) Legend by round US$3000, although it was $5000 costlier than a Camry V6. US patrons did get a full vary of energy equipment, further sound deadening and actual hen’s eye maple trim, plus the Lexus dealership expertise, however that was a steep premium for a car primarily an identical mechanically. The more expensive LS400 ended up outselling it by greater than 2-to-1.

The second-generation ES would keep on with front-wheel drive and Camry mechanicals, nevertheless it had dramatically totally different styling from its extra reasonably priced Toyota relation; it was offered because the Windom in Japan, the place Lexus wouldn’t exist as its personal model till 2005.

We obtained each era of ES till the fifth era of 2006. Gross sales of the moderately awkwardly styled fourth-generation mannequin had trailed off in Australia, and the fifth-generation mannequin ended up being produced solely in left-hand drive.

Lexus clearly figured it had its sedan bases lined with the IS and GS at this finish of the market; the ES, in contrast to these, was front-wheel drive and extra overtly comfort-focused, being derived from the Toyota Camry and aimed predominantly on the US market.

The fifth-generation ES adopted a extra highly effective 203kW 3.5-litre V6 engine, although a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine was provided in some Asian markets. It was the primary ES era with options like adaptive cruise management, a panoramic sunroof, and rain-sensing wipers, amongst others.

The ES was Lexus’ second best-selling car globally, and Lexus determined to reverse course with the sixth era and as soon as once more construct it in right-hand drive. Now sharing its underpinnings with the Toyota Avalon, the ES returned to Australia and provided an obtainable hybrid powertrain.

Lexus is now onto the seventh era ES which, following the worldwide discontinuation of the GS and the native axing of the IS as a consequence of stricter security requirements, is now the model’s solely sub-LS sedan domestically.

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