The car industry has experienced a swell of growth during the first half of 2021, which juxtaposes the severe decline it (as well as many other industries) suffered last year as a result of COVID-19. A number of car companies are using this opportunity to release their newest models in novel and existing lines.
For example, Australia is anxiously anticipating the upcoming release of several exciting new cars, such as the Cupra Formentor, Ford Ranger, Honda HR-V, Kia EV6 and Lexus LX. However, with the release of such new cars, the demand from car enthusiasts for a media outlet they can rely on for trustworthy and legitimate reviews is at an all time high.
A Successful Year
Paul Maric is one of the the three founders of CarExpert.com.au, an independent online automotive publisher; their unique selling point is their ability to produce reviews that are truly unbiased with absolute uncompromised impartiality. Since being founded in 2020, the Australian startup has raised over $6 million in funding and added several billionaires and business leaders to its share register.
Despite only just having surpassed its first birthday, CarExpert.com.au has already become Australia’s fastest growing automotive publication and is speculated to have a valuation of around $25 million. On top of this, it also owns the country’s most watched automotive car review channel on YouTube.
CarExpert.com.au’s mission was to create an authentic and unbiased experience; their competitors were bloated with advertising and marketing, a characteristic they were not keen to emulate. CarExpert.com.au’s founders, Alborz Fallah, Paul Maric and Anthony Crawford, believed the presence of this content in their reviews devalued the story and fostered this sense of sponsored material.
On top of this, a site with no display advertising has many benefits over those that do run them. Primarily, their website loads faster since it does not need to render ads that must be loaded on a third party website. CarExpert.com.au completely avoids the paid-for content of their competitors as they consider it entirely valueless – all of their value is derived from the ability to provide impartial reviews, jeopardising this risks the company’s profits directly.
2021 saw the launch of the ‘CarExpert Experience Centre’, which took place as a three-month trial on the Northern Beaches of Sydney at Westfield Warringah Mall. In a similar vein to its unbiased reviews, this service also aimed to provide an untarnished, pure experience with cars for new car buyers. It was a trial to test if people were interested in a ‘brand-agnostic’ retail space in which to explore their potential future car purchase without a salesperson pressuring them.
During this trial period, the store experienced great success: over 30,000 customers visited the store and explored the 20 cars it had on display. The combination of access to the expert advice of automotive professionals combined with the ability to test drive each car at no cost without a salesperson looming over proved to be a hit.
As part of the service, this centre also offered a tailor-made AI product. Footage acquired from cameras situated around the showroom’s ceilings captured images of the visitors and sent it to CarExpert.com.au’s cloud AI to determine their sex, age, the cars they interacted with and for how long. This data was also sold to car companies so they could better understand the success of their products in comparison with their competitors.
New Rides Coming to Australia
In June of 2022, Volkswagen Group’s Cupra brand will be released in Australia – spearheaded by its Formentor small SUV that is attempting to compete with the ‘hot hatches’ that every brand, from Hyundai to Honda, now seemingly have. There will be three Cupra options, all with turbocharged engines and a pair of plug-in hybrids.
The newly appointed brand boss Ben Wilks is confident that the Formentor, Ateca SUVs and Leon hatchback that will be joining them are exactly the types of cars that Australians are interested in buying.
This ute has found unprecedented success in Australia, being the country’s second best-selling nameplate – in no small part because of the role it played in local development. The newest iteration in the Ranger lineup is expected to build on the current release’s successes with a flagship V6 powertrain plus the introduction of hybridisation for future-proofing.
It is currently unclear exactly when the new Ranger will be available in showrooms, but Ford intends to uncover the model by the end of 2021 for a prompt 2022 release.
Honda has purposefully reduced its presence in the Australian market, instead opting for an agency model of sales operations – aware that they will sell less cars. By removing its Jazz, City and Civic Sedan lines, more pressure is being placed on the HR-V to perform well than perhaps Honda realises, and it needs a home run.
Be that as it may, all the raw ingredients for success are present in this car: a cutting-edge design, practical dimensions and hybridity.
In recent years, this company has only gone from success to success in Australia. The EV6 is likely to be the model that shifts this company from its ‘budget’ brand to a more ‘bougie’ one. As an electric mid-size SUV with a driving range of over 500km off a single charge, it is perfect for Australia.
Pricing is speculated to bode well too; the 2022 EV6 could wind up being one of the most affordable mid-size electric SUVs on the market next year.
If a stylish SUV is more your wavelength, the new-generation Lexus LX is the car for you. It is expected to share many elements with the Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series, including its turbo-diesel V6 engine.
It also contains the brand’s signature ‘spindle’ front grille and is packed full of the latest in multimedia technologies.