Seven makes of motor car have departed South Africa since 2008. First there was Seat from Spain, then came Saab and Cadillac in 2010, the Japanese Daihatsu in 2015, Citroën left last year and Chev and Chrysler have departed or made plans to depart by the end of 2017. In the meantime arrivals have come in from India who make a lot of our imported cars and China who are setting up shop here.
Two brands that are also doing well with a host of new models are Renault, who have increased their sales hand over fist over the last couple of years, and Suzuki which makes quality small cars that are right up to date as far as space, spec and performance go. Latest car from them is the Ignis (Flame).
Sixty one percent of motorists in South Africa say that overall road conditions have deteriorated in the last two years. This I must say, does not really apply to our national roads which serve the country well.
Just over 55% of motorists nationally say that the AA believe physical policing on our roads has also declined as too many drivers believe that road traffic rules do not apply to them.
Our government in all their ‘State of the Nation Budget addresses’ never even mention the words “road safety” despite the horrific death rate we have in this country.
Basil van Rooyen, one of our South African motor racing champions who went to Australia 30 years ago and has now retired in Sydney, has designed a two-stroke engine that he believes could be used in motorcycles.
Being an accomplished automotive engineer who founded SuperFormance, the specialist German company in Johannesburg, says it has many advantages: being more powerful, smaller, lighter, cheaper and more economical with low emissions. Bring it on, Basil. We were conned out of two-strokes by some green people in California 30 years ago; although Yamaha, Husqvarna and KTM still make small capacity two-stroke competition bikes.
There are now no less than 19 KB models of Isuzu available in South Africa. They come in three body types. Single cab, extended cab and double cab configuration.
A new good looking model called the X-Rider has already sold 700 units to the South African bakkie fans. It looks and performs as well as anything else in the market place.
Introducing the new Nissan Navara Nissan has got together a wide range of accessories to go with their new vehicle. There are no less than 67 items which they have developed in partnership with their Nissan approved suppliers and which are just right for our South African conditions.
Fastest Beetle in the world has to be an American one that recently did 328.195 km/h over a measured mile at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Engine used was a 404kW 2 litre TSi motor from the Volkswagen stable with a supercharger, special pistons, camshafts connecting rods and cylinder head mods. Special wheels and tyres were used on the salt pan.
In 1941 more than three million cars were manufactured in the US. After Japan declared war on American only 139 more were made during the rest of the war till 1945 for public consumption.
TATA Motors from India signed a Memo of Understanding for a long term partnership with VW and Skoda. Skoda will head up the group on developing economical vehicles.
Awards given out recently by Volvo South Africa saw the one and only Tom Camfer Volvo Cars in Johannesburg take the overall 2016 Dealer of the Year. If you think Volvo, you think Tom Camfer Motors. They sell them and they compete in them as well.
In 1994 South Africa had 6.5 million vehicles on the road. China, about to change their government policies at the same time, had 1.5 million cars and trucks for 1.5 billion people. 23 years later South Africa has 12 million vehicles on the road and China has 147 million. There has got to be a story here how governments can help the motor industry thrive and create employment.
Last year China produced 28 million units, South Africa 600 000 units whilst sales were 28 million for China and 547 406 for South Africa.
GWM now in South Africa for 10 years have themselves sold 50 000 vehicles through 40+ dealerships is now fully controlled by its parent company in South Africa called Haval Motors South Africa. The big news is that premium Haval products – and the company did sell one million in China last year – are rolling out the H2 first and then a whole range of models coming after it. They have promised a long list of quality vehicles coming our way.
BAIC (pronounced “Bike”) have planned to build a factory to make SUVs and sedans in PE whilst FAW, the fourth largest truck manufacturer in the world is doing very nicely out of their truck plant in PE as well. Big message is don’t underestimate the Chinese.
Mitsubishi Outlander won the Top Value accolade in the 10 Most Affordable 3-Row Vehicles according to the Kelly Blue Book. It will be the fourth time in a row they have won this. Their seven-seater is good value at R549 900.
In May, Porsche rolled out their one millionth 911 model – the Carrera S. In 2016 alone 32 365 911’s were delivered worldwide as Porsche sold 240,000 vehicles throughout the world. Still today 70% of all 911’s ever built are still on the road – a wonderful record to have.
In 1917, believe it or not, the speed limit for cars in most cities in America was 16 km/h. If you wanted petrol you went down to the chemist to buy it.
Honda’s popular Ballade has been upgraded with new appeal – daytime running lights, upgraded interior, lots of improvements and a higher spec. Ballade was one of the first Honda models sold in this country way back in the 70’s. Five models are on offer – two with manual gearboxes and three with automatic cvt.
A Hyundai Sante Fe conquered Antarctica following the route planned by the explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton 100 years ago. The expedition was led by the great grandson of Shackleton, Patrick Bergel and went across huge icy wastes, snow and mountains where no man has ever been. The distance was 8 000 km with a standard Sante Fe with giant low pressure tyres and modified suspension for better ground clearance
Launched at the Simola Hill Climb in Knysna in 2016 for South Africa, the Jaguar F-Pace was voted the World Car of the Year and also World Car Design of the Year. It is the second time Jaguar has claimed this historic double in the 13 year history of the World Car Awards. 75 motoring journalists from 24 countries decided on the winner. Two other finalists were Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet and coming very much into the picture the Toyota C-HR.
There are now seven derivatives of the ever popular Mazda 2. Backed by a three-year unlimited km factory warranty the Mazda 2 is known for its outstanding performance and reliability. There is also a three-year road-side assistance and a three-year service plan plus a five-year corrosion warranty included in the sales price. They start at R215 100.
Surely it is time for the Government to recognise what the motor industry can provide as far as jobs and foreign currency go and to get closer to them and not spend all their time remembering ancestors, traditional leaders and kings with loads of the country’s cash. Get a vision sometime. The motor industry has been around for over 90 years in South Africa and has the potential to grow much bigger in this country and up through Africa.
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 to get all your news on the motor industry, motorsport and everything to do with wheels and engines.