The Good Oil: French correction, Volvo supertruck, and Tupac's Hummer
Business mentors purporting to be social media gurus usually settle on a confronting (but often sage) piece of advice; social media isn’t always the answer. Just because everyone else seems to have Facebook and Instagram accounts doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the right popularity platforms for your business. If your business involved something such as professional fish-gutting, for example.
So if everyone is building a ute, should you also start building one?
The Good Oil has commented on this rumour before, but it now looks a certainty. Peugeot and Citroen will manufacture badge-engineered one-tonne utes. And they’ll almost certainly use Toyota’s Hilux to underpin them.
Okay, fine. Let’s face it; we can all get behind a good ute. You know, one of those ones like the Ranger. Or the BT-50. Or the Amarok or D-Max.
But a Citroen ute? Hmm.
So, what will that look like? Will it be suitably Citroen-y? Can you make a ute quirky and interesting and oh-so-very French like Citroen’s cars are? And if so, should you?
It’s true that Citroen already has a long history of van-shaped light commercial vehicle manufacturing. But it’s not so much the look of whatever a Citroen and Toyota one-tonne truck mash-up might look like; it’s more about the chances of someone wanting one.
Then again, New Zealand might not even be on the radar for such a vehicle.
As part of Citroen owner PSA Groupe’s ambitious Push to Pass business plan announced last month — in which it unveiled its goal of delivering 34 new models to market within the next five years — eight light commercial vehicles including a one-tonne ute are now on the production schedule.
The carmaker has said that the India-Pacific region is a big target — it wants to increase its sales by 50 per cent.
But how far west does the “Pacific” part of that regional description extend?
Right now it’s anyone’s guess whether a Citroen ute would even be manufactured in right-hand drive or whether they’d bother with the likes of us when the enormous potential awaits in India and Southeast Asia.
The other big question is, if PSA Groupe does envision the Hilux as a base vehicle for its Francophile flat-deck, isn’t there the slight flaw in that in five years the current Hilux will be a creaky old thing, akin to how the previous Hilux is viewed now?
We’ll await further news with interest. Possibly on social media.
World’s strongest man drives long road train
Picture / Supplied
The Good Oil has grown to love Volvo Truck’s YouTube videos.
First there was Jean-Claude van Damme’s epic no-it’s-all-real-and-not-CGI leg split between two Volvo rigs as they trundled through a desert alarmingly briskly.
Then there was the adorable 5-year old girl set loose with a radio controlled (but otherwise real) Volvo truck in a 1:1 scale construction zone, with cinder-block conkers and a prefab building just aching to be driven through.
Now we have “world’s strongest man” Magnus Samuelsson driving quite possibly the longest road train in transport history. Driving? Yes well, even with his man-mountain physique there’s no way Samuelsson would be pulling this particular big rig with his teeth.
The video is designed to highlight Volvo’s new crawler mode transmission system and you can probably take a wild stab in the proverbial when guessing whether they pull the stunt off.
But the incredible weight of the snaking line of trailers (around 750 tonnes all up) coupled with the stress on the air brake system is enough to keep the tension ratcheted up. Add unscheduled Nordic sleet to the proceedings and the whole thing looks doomed to disaster.
It makes for enjoyable viewing and, despite having no experience of trucks beyond pulling them with a harness attached to his back, Samuelsson’s insistence that he’s fine to drive the Volvo because he “grew up on a farm” is unintentional comedy at its best.
Tupac’s Hummer H1 up for auction
It’s probably just as well workaholic rapper Tupac Shakur didn’t collect cars with the unceasing fervour he wrote songs, otherwise we’d be seeing an ex-2Pac vehicle on an auction block somewhere in the world every six months or so.
After the artist’s untimely death by shooting in 1996, a calendar year couldn’t tick past without a “new” release from him; endless products of a vast vault of unreleased (and sometimes half-finished) material he recorded but never distributed during his lifetime.
One of the last acts of that lifetime however, was to buy an enormous Hummer H1. As you did when you were a rapper in 1996.
It was next on the list after “enormous gold chain with diamond-encrusted dollar sign pendant”.
The black-with-beige-interior beast was purchased by 2Pac less than a month before he died and is now owned by a Canadian collector. It’s on the block next week though as part of RR Auction’s “Marvels of Modern Music” gavel-fest.
The Hummer’s 1990s-era Clarion 12-disc CD changer was top-of-the-line when it was new, as was its heavily pixellated Sony GPS navigation system; a premium-level accoutrement at the time.
The H1 comes with a winch and a 360-degree floodlight, although the idea of 2Pac specifying recovery equipment of this nature suggests he wasn’t paying attention when it came time to ticking options boxes.
Maybe “winch” meant something else in mid-90s West Coast gangsta parlance.
Although the Hummer’s lumbering 6.5-litre V8 Detroit Diesel probably wouldn’t be able to get out of its own way, the auctioneer expects bidding to be swift.
It’s anticipated the Hummer will fetch more than US$100,000 ($147,000) on auction day.
All Eyez On It, as it were.
1928 YEAR Volvo Trucks founded
19 THOUSAND Employees worldwide (as at 2011)
1.9 LITRES Displacement of engine in first Volvo LV4 truck (1928)
17 COUNTRIES Where Volvo trucks are manufactured worldwide