Spieshecker

Mercedes-Benz in East London has just built their 500 000th C-Class in five years of manufacturing this model at the coast. 

The AA believes that the AARTO Bill soon to be signed by the President is fraudulent. For example, there is a low rand value fine along with driving licence points ‘demerit’ for not wearing a seat belt  which is about the same as driving an unregistered vehicle  go figure? Everyone thought that AARTO was supposed to improve our road safety record on our streets and highways. 

The other concern is that municipalities won’t like the fact that all fines in the AARTO Bill will be going to the Government and not the municipalities themselves. Yet another way to make money for the Government to pay off their huge debts they continue to run up. 

An all-new, generation RAV4 has just been launched. There is a new engine derivative. Design inside and out is also refreshed plus even more safety built in. Five new models are offered with manual transmission, four-wheel drive and CVT. Prices start from R416 400 up to R578 000. 

Stand by for further increases in the price of petrol. Carbon tax is going up although we only have Euro2 fuel with no clean burning Euro5 fuel in sight. The price of petrol, diesel and illuminating paraffin also increases. This will be a regular feature every month as the government sees the motorist as the perfect cash cow to swell their coffers. More than R5 a litre is paid by you on every litre of fuel. Incidentally, we sell 27 billion litres of the stuff a year! Your taxes help make South Africa one of the most taxed countries in the world. 

Sergio Marchionne, who died recently, was named World Car Person of the Year by more than 87 World Car Awards journos from 24 countries. 

The Ford Ranger has claimed top honours at CAR magazine’s annual Top 12 Best Buys Awards. It was the eighth win they have had in a row from CAR. Ranger remains the top-selling double cab bakkie in South Africa with yet another all-new Ranger to follow. They have just started producing them in Silverton. 

All new Datsun vehicles are now covered by Datsun warranties of six years/150 000km, doubling the amount of time the customer can enjoy carefree motoring. They are good sellers as well. 

The all-new Toyota Corolla has hit the streets. It is a fresh looking hatchback using a 2.0 litre turbocharged engine with plenty of active- and passive safety features. Prices start at R366 800 in either six-speed manual or CVT. 

Audi’s high-performance cars have returned with the introduction of the Audi RS4 Avant and the Audi RS5 Sportback. These push out 331kW and 600Nm of torque. Prices start from R1.2 million. 

Projections are that in 18 years time it will take six hours to commute between Jo’burg and Pretoria  if they don’t start building additional roads or highways  don’t build a couple of lanes to add to the current highway, build absolutely new roads. Lucky the Minister of Transport has this in hand. You wish! 

The most powerful V8 in Ferrari’s history has been unveiled in Geneva. The 4 litre V8 puts out 7820hp. Yes please! 

Since 1989 Lexus has produced 10 million vehicles. 2018 saw record sales of 698 330. They were launched globally in 1989.  19 000 have been sold since their introduction in 1994 in South Africa. 

Ford Ranger had 68 364 units sent to export markets last year. That’s 16.2% up on 2017. 

Nissan’s Micra has had an additional Ascenta Plus Tech added to its range. This gives you everything that opens and shuts only usually found on a luxury car and comes into the market at R300 000 with a 900cc 3-cylinder turbo-charged motor. It has got loads of performance and lots of space. 

Honda in the UK has been producing 150 000 cars a year is to close in 2021. Something to do with the EU I am sure. Or Brexit. 

Due out soon in South Africa is the new generation Quantum. Either as a van or a taxi, it has got advanced safety features and powerful new engines, enhanced ride comfort and increased specification. This is the first time anything has happened to the Quantum in 15 years and is one of the best sellers in the Toyota range. 

Ian Callum, director of design at Jaguar, was named The London Classic Car Show Icon in 2019.  Plus he was also the 2013 winner of the World Car Designer of the Year.  If I am not mistaken he designed the current London Taxi. 

The Hyundai Kona and electric model were named the winner of the North American Utility Vehicle of the Year. Hyundai has certainly arrived. They are the fourth biggest vehicle manufacturer in the world. 

Haval in China have led Chinese production for years with five million units sold. They are a coming force. 

One of the finest MotoGP races ever held (if you don’t watch MotoGP start watching now  it is the best) opened the season in Qatar when Dovizioso beat Marquez to the finish line by the width of a tyre on the last lap which saw the first five bikes (with Rossi in the fifth position) all finishing within .6 of a second. 

Older or heavier drivers in Rotax Max racing now have a better chance as starting a new Heavyweight National Championship 175 class shortly.  This is so heavier karters can compete on even terms. 

The National GTC Season got underway with Simon Moss in his Audi winning both races down at the Dezzi Raceway in Port Shepstone. A new welcome addition to the racing against the Audis and Volkswagen is Michael van Rooyen in a Toyota Gazoo Corolla. Looks very smart and goes like a rocket. 

Certainly worthwhile to watch is the Falcon Polo Cup with upwards of 40 drivers locked in battle. The first two races won by Jeffrey Kruger and former champion, Chris Shorter. 

The latest 2019 DJ Rally for classic motorcycles run from Hillcrest in KZN to Germiston took place in the middle of March.  It attracted 80 entries including two Americans  one a traffic cop from Houston who just thought South Africa was the greatest place. The quality of entries and the standard of riding and navigation was tops.  Clerk of the Course for the second year was Larina MacGregeor. The winner was Gavin Walton (1936 AJS). 

True to form Giniel de Villiers and Denis Murphy won the first round of the South African Off-road Championship in their Toyota Gazoo Hilux, Henk Lategan who led for a lot of the rally held down in Dullstroom partnered by ex-motorcyclist Brett Cummings came home in the second position in the Dakar-winning Hilux. Lance Woolridge won Class T for the standard bakkies in a Ford Ranger. 

World Superbike racing looks like we are in for a surprise this year as the  Ducati of ex-MotoGP rider, Alvero Bautista, walked the first six races in Philip Island in Australia and Thailand. Ducati, of course, is financed by the Volkswagen Group  for a while at any rate. 

The Rally to Read which advances education in far-flung districts of our country has been supported by Ford this year who contribute R1.3m to get books for our rural primary schools. 10 000 books, 110 education toys and games and 250 arts and craft sets will benefit 173 teachers and 9 000 learners at 10 schools in Mpumalanga. 

Isuzu achieved 25% market share in the Zimbabwe market. 

Wayne Taylor whose Cadillac team won the Daytona 24-Hour Race followed this up with a second at Sebring with his son Jordan at the wheel. Wayne is one of the most successful exports we have had in history, winning world sports car championships twice, our South African Single Seater Formulas and his sons winning at Daytona and in American races for years. 

Here is another one from Churchill “You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.” 

Great Wall Motors, who sold more than one million vehicles last year in China, are looking to purchase Fiat/Chrysler Automobiles, or maybe they just want one or two of their brands, like 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-60s. Their average figure for motorcycles made each year is 18 million. This, plus five million or so power products make them one mighty big organisation 

The C50 Scooter and other two-wheelers using the 50cc overhead cam engine has become the biggest produced unit of any type in the world’s history.   At last count it was around 87million  the model that put Honda on the map and saved the company when they got going in the later 50’s and early 60’s. The campaign they used for that one was “You meet the nicest people on a Honda.” 

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.