There’s always one, the ‘lone ranger’ vehicle that raises a few eyebrows on your daily commute. The colour, the noise, the luxury, but for others it’s the curiosity of the unknown.
In a lot of cases, these vehicles aren’t making their New Zealand debut, rather they are well established and recognised brands in overseas markets that are only just now landing on our shores. Many inquisitive AA Members are now asking about these brands, often swayed by comparable pricing and specifications, but scared to take the plunge with the fear of the unknown.
Seat or Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo, which translates to Spanish Society of Touring Automobile, entered the New Zealand market in early 2017 from the city of Martorell, about 35km from Barcelona. Originally founded in 1950, the brand now has strong roots after the acquisition by Volkswagen group in 1986. Seat are offering its take on the popular Tiguan with its Ateca model – a medium sized SUV. To many it may seem excessive to add yet another SUV into the mix, but in reality, the SUV market is so hot right now, it’s hard to put a foot wrong. Seat also has a 200kW hot hatch available – the Leon Cupra.
The LDV brand is a new offering from Chinese group SIAC which is the largest automotive manufacturer in china. LDV isn’t all new to the industry, L standing for Leyland Motors and the D for DAF Trucks, both well-known brands some years ago.
LDV focuses on looks, price, and safety, delivering a host of technological and safety features within a relatively modest budget.
New Zealand’s newest utility, the T60 raised eyebrows after an ANCAP crash test received a 5star safety rating. Scoring a total of 35.46 points out of a possible maximum of 37, the T60 has become the first Chinese light commercial vehicle to achieve a five-star rating on the first attempt.
The LDV T60 is in the right place at the right time, destined to steal a few sales from the big boys.
It all started in 1985 when an elite group formed quietly with Nissan with the purpose of building a new division of performance luxury cars. For comparison sake, think Lexus and Toyota. Since the 80’s Infiniti has become a well-known brand globally.
Infiniti New Zealand is currently operating as the subsidiary of Kiwi-owned Global Motors, the distributor that also handles Renault. Infiniti is being offered through just two dealerships at the moment: one in Auckland, the other in Christchurch.
Elon Musk is a name you may have heard by now with SpaceX launching the Falcon Heavy rocket Tuesday to much fanfare with Musk’s eventual goal of sending people to live on Mars. To make the rocket launch more entertaining, Musk put his own cherry red Tesla Roadster in the rocket to be released into space.
Not your traditional automakers, Tesla’s range of vehicles are somewhat a step ahead of the market. Focussed solely on producing electric vehicles, two models are available (Model S and Model X) both capable of ludicrous speeds, impressive battery range and of course, rather generous price tags.
As more makes and models wash upon our shores, it’s only good news for Kiwi motorists with greater choice than ever before. Sticking to the old tried to true favourites can be a safe idea, but don’t be afraid of a badge, just because you don’t recognise it.