Merry Christmas, Happy New Year

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Here we are – bruised, embattled and confused by the past 20 months of lockdowns, restrictions, fear and a series of highs and lows from what have been a set of extraordinary couple of years. We’re still here, still keeping you entertained and informed, and you keep coming back, so from that I can conclude that the AROnline team is doing a good job. For that, I thank you all…

I’m not going to dwell any more on the ongoing pandemic, and instead wish peace, health and safety upon you all. It’s clear that you’re all still coming back and engaging with the site. It’s been interesting looking through the Google Analytics data to see what the most popular pages are – and it won’t come as any surprise to (to me at least) see that some of the most popular stories on the site are about ‘non-firm’ cars.

Clearly, you love BMC. Austin Rover, MG Rover et al, but you’re also enthusiasts, and love to compare and contrast the fortunes of its rivals. Here’s a clue – in the Top Five performing development stories of the year, the Alfa Romeo Alfasud and Innocenti 90/120 Mini (below) figure prominently. Indeed…

Innocenti Mini 90/120

In the car world, there’s been a significant shift in new car sales away from diesel and towards electric and plug-in hybrids. Electric cars are now taking more than 10% of the market after some very impressive sales growth. Having run an EV for the past year or so, there’s a lot to recommend them, especially if, like me, you’re lucky enough to have a home charger. However, for the rest of potential owners in flats, terraces and rented accommodation reliant on public charging, the news isn’t so rosy. The growth of the charger network is being outstripped by sales, and my own experiences are that we can’t yet rely on their reliability – this needs to improve.

The UK car industry continues onwards. Jaguar Land Rover struggles with supplies of semi-conductors – stunting production significantly. The Jaguar side of the operation had its forward model plans torn up in favour of an all-new electric model range commencing roll-out by 2025. Announcing that, Jaguar halted the development and introduction of the all-new electric XJ saloon just months before it went on sale. Land Rover continues to plough a very profitable furrow with the Defender – expect to see more variations on that theme soon.

Nissan launched a new Qashqai and celebrated another production milestone for the all-electric Leaf – all good news for the Washington factory – while it looked like McLaren could well be up for sale, even if reports that the company was going to Audi were a little premature. Britain’s heritage-flavoured importer, MG, continued to increase sales and look more and more like a serious manufacturer after establishing itself as seller of well-priced EVs. A week with the latest ZS EV certainly backed up that impression – keep your eyes peeled for the review.

And on that, it’s left to me to wish you all a happy and safe Christmas break – if you have one – and here’s to a better 2022. We all need it!

Keith Adams

12 Comments

  1. The AROnline site continues to offer interesting and valuable insight into motoring topics past and present, so keep up the great work.

    New content is always appreciated and a wide spread of experiences adds to the variety.

    MC&aHNY2Uall 🙂

  2. I tend to look at ARonline just about every day since retiring – there is always much to enjoy from nostalgia cars to cars of the present & future. I show my age when I admit I preferred cars of the 60s to 80s (when I was in my teens to thirties age group). Simpler times / simpler cars but wish i could go back to those pre pandemic days.

    Anyway, Merry Xmas to you all and lets hope there is a brighter road ahead…

  3. Don’t thank us thank yourselves for such interesting and entertaining adventures and content.
    I will be working all over Christmas weekend but I certainly be delving into Aronline archives during downtime between shifts and on tea breaks.
    Nollaig Shona Daoimh. ‍⛄

  4. Thanks for a great treatise on what went wrong with BMC / BL.

    As a patriot, I had several new Minis and Metros in the 1980s. They were fine, although outdated by the end.

    When I became entitled to a company car in 1985, I thought I would get a new Montego Estate. My local dealer had one in Barnes, but when he tried to take me for a test drive, it had a flat battery. I never had the test drive. A bad omen – I got a VW Passat Estate instead.

    I think by then the dealers had given up. Whether the Montego would have given the same sterling service as the Metros, I will never know.

  5. Thank you Keith – and the other contributors – for all your efforts in keeping us both informed and entertained.

    Of the 15 or so cars that I owned in the UK during the 1963-72 period, only one (a LHD 300cc BMW Isetta) wasn’t British. The British cars ranged from a side-valve Minx to a 1961 Mk. II 3.4 Jaguar (manual with O/D) and included a new 1966 HB Viva SL (a vast improvement on my dad’s HA, though still underpowered) and a new Commer Imp van, the latter being an unmitigated heap of garbage; for starters, the ring-gear dropped off the flywheel… That van was potentially lethal, in that, on a cold engine – which took about five miles to warm up – it would die when one tried to move off, no matter what the choke setting; very dangerous when crossing dual carriageways.

    Bought new in 1974, the Leyland P76 – a deluxe 4.4-litre V8 manual with three-on-the-tree – was a great 6-seat tourer, but marred with silly faults, such as the concave rim of the steering wheel, which presented a sharpish edge to the driver’s hands. Door-lock buttons rattled, the chrome windscreen surrounds fluttered at speed and the needle-valve on the float chamber would stick. If it stuck open it would overflow, causing a potential fire; if closed, fuel starvation occurred and the vehicle failed to proceed. Spot welds on the window glass plates let go, causing the glass to nose-dive inside the door. The interior mirror fell off and the door mirror would turn itself inwards; there were other little amusements, too. Product development, in the time-honoured BMC/BL tradition, was left to the customer and build quality was, at best, patchy. In fairness to Leyland Australia, it was starved of funding by its British parent, so everything was being done on a shoestring budget.

    That said, the new 1976 XC Ford Falcon, a 4.1-litre straight 6 auto, which followed the P76, wasn’t immune either. Thanks to ADR 27A the fuel consumption was atrocious (+25%) and the acceleration somewhat strangled when compared to its XB predecessor. The instruments couldn’t be read in bright sunlight (in Australia!) and a valve in the PBR-supplied brake booster was reversed, causing wheel lock-up, though as to which one was a lottery. Oh, and the bonnet catch was suspect, leading to a face-full of bonnet. Interesting! Both latter issues were eventually subject to recalls.

    Having worked in the industry – Triumph and Rover plus Rootes/Chrysler in the UK, and Ford, AMI (Australian Motor Industries, who assembled Triumph, Toyota and American Motors Rambler), Nissan/Datsun and GMH in Australia, I have a nostalgic but (I hope!) realistic view of the past products that were foisted onto a largely-unsuspecting public. Some were good for their time, others were – sometimes significantly – less so.

    Seasons greetings to one and all.

  6. Thanks for your wishes, I wish you all the best for this year end. I’m really enthusiastic about your site, as an XJC and 3.4 S owner but also by the richness of the UK’s automotive past. Porbably the most productive in Europe till the sad seventies.
    Sadly now there’s not much left, even though we hope Jaguar can recover, LR still alive, Mini and Bentley still doing well. Those are still British even though shareholders are somewhere else, 20% Mercedes is Chinese, about same for Stellantis, who cares from a strict product and pmants viewpoint ?
    Merry Christmas and Happy New-Year to you all !

  7. I’m looking for forward to the MG ZS EV review, I had a short 5 mile ride in a ZS, the ZS in use as a taxi, the owner was very happy with his ZS , said the range is 200 miles, 180 miles with careful rationing of cabin heating, charging overnight at his home charger costing £10, his diesel taxi cost him £30 a day in fuel.
    Fit and finish of the cabin good, and on the move a nice car, driver told me no issues or problems with the ZS, and he paid only £25000 new after Govt grants.
    From my run in the ZS, If I were CEO of a European car maker , I’d be worried

  8. The ZS is one out of many Chinese cars that pop in these days.
    And the Europeans are worried.
    The Peugeot e-2008 compares well in same class and price.
    The Renault Megane Electric will be available from March, more car for less money.
    The VW ID3 slightly more expensive : Detsche Qualität 😉

  9. Merry Christmas to one and all.

    Thanks for all the fascinating articles, whether for the home team or the visitors!

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