IBIS Africa

On the 31st of March 2018, the AARTO Road Traffic Offences Bill should be introduced into South Africa. This is where you can forfeit some of your 12 demerit points that have been awarded to you.

This system was first promulgated back in 1998 but despite numerous attempts it has never got off the ground. On past experience I don’t think this one will either.

Of course being a motorist in South Africa you are suspicious of any new traffic law coming into operation as it normally means more backhanders to the cops that stop you. After all they have to have their KFC lunches each day. One difference from before is that points will be deducted from the owner of the car or bakkie or whatever, instead of the driver. If you lend your car to somebody you could then be losing points. Up to 12, then you will lose your licence for three years. Another difference is that you will deal with a traffic tribunal before you can get anywhere near a court. That also sounds like another money-making business, going on past experiences.

You remember when originally we used to laugh at Japanese cars in the 50’s and early 60’s? Then the Korean cars. Now the Chinese. Forget it. A new electric EP9 Supercar – a Chinese newcomer called NIO – has just claimed a blistering new lap record of the Nordschleife Circuit at the Nurburgring.  It lapped the famous ring at 6:45.9 minutes. It beat the Lamborghini Huracan by no less than six seconds. And it is a great looker. With 1342 HP on tap it accelerates to 313 k/h in 7.1 seconds. Built in extremely limited numbers prices start at R1.5m.

Sad to record the death of long-time motorsport manager of National Motorsport in South Africa – Colin van Zyl. He was 86 and after a long battle with cancer succumbed on 26th September, 2017. After being a ranger in the Kruger National Park, Colin joined the GP Organising Committee in East London in the early 60’s when we had Formula 1 events in this country. He raced a Mini Cooper with success and then moved to Cape Town to join the RAC in their Motorsport Division. When RAC closed he took a senior position in the AA Motorsport Division where he remained until his retirement in 1996.

The best automotive global brands for 2017, and sold in SA, saw four in the top 20. First was Toyota, ninth Mercedes-Benz, 13th BMW and 20th Honda. Toyota, turning over $50.3bn, was seventh overall against all brands. Apple, Google and Microsoft were the first three. Interesting to see that Honda’s brand value increased by 31% over the last five years.

After total production of 150 million vehicles this year since they got started in the mid-30’s Nissan has launched their top dog 370Z with its 3.7 litre V6 engine fitted to a manual or automatic gearbox.

They have a great history in South Africa having won their class at the Simola Hill Climb and even being the King of the Hill.

Alfa Romeo has launched their new Stelvio which has just claimed the title of the world’s fastest production SUV. Where did their Quadrifoglio set a benchmark lap time? At Nurburgring no less. They lapped the 22.6 km northern Loop in 7:51.7 minutes. That is eight seconds faster than previous production SUV records. The new Alfa Romeo stable is as good as you can get, as we have seen with Giulia. The 2.9 litre, 24 valve, twin-turbo intercooled V6 engine pushes out 510 HP (375kW) with massive torque of 600 Nm (443 lb-foot of torque).

GWM bring the Haval H2 to this country, a vehicle that has made the semi-final list of awards by cars.co.za.

Toyota Financial Services and the SAGMJ or South African Guild of Motoring Journalists – have joined hands and will recognise and award South Africa top motoring journalists in this country. And there are quite a few very talented ones around.

TFS has been with the Guild for five years and over this time cash and other prizes have been made available to the winners in various categories.

If you have got a spare £100m lying around somewhere, a car-obsessed dentist in England is selling his private car collection for that figure.  His name is James Hull who owns more than 450 rare and classic cars ranging from multi-million pound rare Jaguars to Winston Churchill’s Austin. There’s also a Bentley once owned by Elton John. With no room to park them at his home in Kensington he garages them in vast warehouses in Herefordshire but has decided to sell all of them because of ill health. But you need to be quick.

Almost unnoticed, a little Fiat Panda 4×4 Cross fitted with a      132 kW 2 litre Multijet engine finished this year’s Dakar. It was an all-Italian effort by Giulio Verzeretti who has raced trucks, motorcars and motorcycles in 15 Dakars – and Antonio Cabini, who has raced in the Dakar 20 times in similar vehicles who drove this little Fiat to the finish line. The Fiat Panda is Europe’s best selling 4×4 and is the shortest at 3.8m.

The AA of South Africa has started a campaign for visibility aimed at pedestrians. So far they have reached 25 000 people with day-glo bibs. The campaign asks commuters to improve pedestrians’ visibility with the sashes you put over your shoulder or onto your bags. Pedestrians are by far the most vulnerable road users in the country. 5 400 Pedestrians died last year – which is 40% of our total road deaths.

The motorcycle company Triumph in the UK and Triumph South Africa have decided to part ways which means that KMSA will no longer import these motorcycles into the country. They are looking for a new distributor in this country as we speak.

General Tyre has brought an all-new aftermarket Grabber AT3 and X3 performance tyre for SUVs or 4x4s tyres to the market. And are they the real deal for getting an almighty grip on dirt roads or obstacles.

A little note in a trade magazine says that Great Wall Motors who sold over one million vehicles last year in China were looking to purchase Fiat/Chrysler automobiles. Or maybe just one or two of their brands – such as Maserati or Alfa, or Fiat or Chrysler. Interesting days lie ahead.

Honda has produced 100 million automobiles since they first went into car manufacture in the mid-60’s. Sales figure for two-wheelers this year is 18 million. This plus five million or so power products makes them a mighty big organisation.

The C50 scooter and other two wheelers using the 50cc overhead cam engine have become the biggest produced unit of any car or bike in the world’s history. At last count it was around 87 million. This model put Honda on the map and saved the company when they got going in the late 5-0’s and early 60’s. The campaign slogan was: “You meet the nicest people on a Honda”.

Ten finalists have been announced by a 25-member jury in the WesBank South African Car of the Year. They are Alfa Romeo Giulia, Audi A5, BMW 5 Series, Kia Picanto, Land Rover Discovery, Peugeot 3008, Porsche Panamera, Suzuki Ignis, Toyota C-HR and Volvo S90. This is not going to be an easy competition to judge.

The annual Champions Day at the Checkered Flag Museum in Benoni was once again well attended by South African motoring greats. It was an all-day affair that lasted until the wee small hours of the morning.

Don’t forget to listen to Roger McCleery on “Motoring Today” on Radio Today, 1485AM or on your computers on www.1485.org.za or on DSTV Audio Channel 869 every Tuesday and Wednesday at 17h30. Get all your news on the motor industry, motorsport and everything to do with wheels and motors.