26 December 2022


Yes, I'm 'back' and fitting as the title would confirm. I was watching a television series about car manufacturers and one was about a company I had never heard of. It was BAC, a tiny niche sports car manufacturer in Liverpool, England. The cars are carefully customised for the purchaser. State of the art techniques and materials are used in their manufacture.

The two brothers who own BAC started out doing work for various car manufacturers but the decision was made to make their own extreme road legal, single seater sports car. The Mono was born and production commenced in 2011. Refinements have been made along the way as one would expect.

In 2019 came the Mono R (picture above), a 555kg (1229lb) lightweight limited to a thirty unit production run. They were all sold very quickly and twenty nine have now been made. It's lighter, more powerful and more advanced than the standard Mono, which in this rarefied air of high performance is a relative comparison. 

For the Mono and Mono R, nearly 150 units have now been made and if my memory of the television programme is good, the factory has a maximum capacity of twenty five cars per year. They are available in 46 countries around the world, with new markets being added. 

Of course, the thorny issue of petrol engined cars soon being banned in many countries is a hurdle to be overcome. BAC has made light weight a high priority, using materials such as graphene to achieve that objective. Batteries are an obvious obstacle to that. Hydrogen fuel cell is a lighter option and components can be integrated into the current design so that is the direction the company is taking.  

The new Mono

I admire the initiative and focus of the Briggs brothers in what they have achieved. The technologies applied to their cars within the time frame of their existence is exceptional. Of course, I'm never going to own one but I certainly don't begrudge those that can do so. For the few that do, happy motoring. 

20 December 2022

UK's 2022 Best Seller British!!!

In a country with a car industry, it has an unusual situation where imports typically account for 90% of registrations. Nissan designs and builds cars in the UK so as British of anything around. This goes over the head of many in the UK but for whatever reason, the local Qashqai is now top of the pops and comfortably so.

This is the first time since 1998 a UK assembled car has held that position. In that case it was the Ford Fiesta model made at the Dagenham facility. Ford later pulled out car production in the UK, although design work and engine building remained. With MG Rover being destroyed by BMW, it seemed there was never going to be a local product that could hold the top spot again.

                                                                            Nissan stepped up to the plate with the ground breaking Qashqai entering the scene in 2007. It has taken a while for it to establish itself as the list to the left reveals. From 35th place in its debut year, it reached the Top 10 in 2010. From there, progress was steady and by 2017 was in 4th spot.

At that point, it stuttered as production seemed to be stifled until early 2022. From then on, it had been a strong rise until its present unassailable top ranking.

To the right is the November 2022 total registrations, colour coded by nation or region. Asian brands have four models on the list. 

08 December 2022

NZ AA Car of the Year Awards : 2022

With the New Zealand government rewarding buyers of lower fossil fuel use vehicles and punishing the higher users, one would expect the award's winners may be swayed by this. Not so. 

While some of the segments for awards reflect a shift of emphasis that way, winners still need to be the best, regardless of their fuel consumption. So without further ado, the categories.

Small SUV: MG ZS 

Medium SUV: Kia Sportage 

Large SUV: Kia Sorento 

Hybrid: Toyota Highlander 

PHEV: Mitsubishi Outlander 

BEV: BYD Atto 3 

Passenger: Honda Jazz 

Sports and performance: Chevrolet Corvette 

Light commercial vehicle: Ford Ranger 

Luxury: BMW iX 

AA Safest: Tesla Model Y 

People’s Choice: Toyota RAV4 

Overall Car of the Year top three: BYD Atto 3, Ford Ranger, Mitsubishi Outlander 

Overall Car of the Year winner: Ford Ranger

So the overall winner the Ford Ranger pickup truck, a vehicle that costs owners a fee at purchase of between $1,840 and $5,175 due to fuel use, it still is the most popular vehicle and the best new model available here.