Become an armchair expert with this list of last week’s biggest or most interesting news stories.
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After 31 months in a row of year-on-year sales decline – the longest slump since the Global Financial Crisis of a decade ago – November finally saw a market recovery as Australia came out of COVID-19 lockdowns. Sales went up for the first time in two-and-a-half years.

The industry is still cautious, however, because many of the cars delivered in November were orders carried over from previous months, during the peak of the lockdown.

Toyota had a blinder; the market leader accounted for almost one in four of every new car sold.

There was more good news for Toyota, this time regarding its diesel particulate filter scandal. The Japanese car giant escaped a fine from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). However, it is still the subject of a legal class action, which could cost the company millions.

Volkswagen finally announced Australian pricing for the Golf 8; it’s due in the first half of next year after delays caused by the pandemic. It was meant to be in showrooms already. The price has gone up, but it has more standard tech than ever before.

We also heard from the chief designer for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, who emphatically claimed the next-generation Amarok will not be a clone of the Ford Ranger (its new twin under the skin, following a joint venture between the German and US car makers).

However, it remains to be seen what technical differences there will be, whether the new Amarok will maintain the current model’s size advantage, and if it will drive different to a Ford Ranger.

In the meantime, Volkswagen Australia has released pricing and details for the locally-developed W580, which will keep the Amarok range fresh until the new model arrives in 2023. The first orders for the W580 sold out online within five minutes.

Hyundai tried a similar online campaign, and sold the first 18 examples of the upcoming i20 N hot hatch via Instagram in a six-hour window one night last week.

The Volkswagen Caddy is poised to get its biggest overhaul in 18 years; VW Australia shared some early details before it arrives mid-year. Hint: if you want a 2021 VW Caddy California, get your order in early.

It had to happen eventually, and we’re excited to see how this thing drives: Mini is testing a fully electric version of its John Cooper Works hot hatch. We’re confident it will be quick, though we’re curious about its driving range.

Speaking of hot hatches, if you haven’t secured a Toyota GR Yaris or a Toyota GR Yaris Rallye, start sulking now. That’s it for this batch and your next chance is the second half of next year.

If it makes you feel any better, dealers are as frustrated as the customers. Many dealers had to hand back dozens of deposits to would-be buyers. There weren’t even enough Rallye editions to share across the entire Toyota network. There are 200 cars coming and there are more than 300 outlets.