Spies Hecker

Mazda South South Africa announced that their CX5 was voted as their Car of the Year by their staff. That must be the first time this has happened in the history of the world. They also claim that CX5 was the top selling passenger vehicle in South Africa. Whoops – what about the Polo Vivo and Toyota Corolla Quest, plus of course bakkies such as the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger?

Car magazine, which each year comes out with their choices in many categories, gave the Ford Ranger Double Cab the Best Buy title for the seventh consecutive year.

Again, for the second year, Honda received honours for its Honda BRV, the little seven seater in the small SUV cross-over category. Honda’s urban and sports EV concept car winning in the Design of the Year (Concept Car) category.

Internationally, Hyundai has been ranked amongst the world’s top value brands by Best Label Brands. They came in 35th position once again, and as the sixth most valuable automotive brand in the world.

Hyundai aims to be a lifestyle brand rather than simply an automotive brand. They are building more and more premium brand cars.

Mazda South Africa opened their doors as a separate motor company on October 1st 2014. October 2017 saw them celebrate their third celebration of a growing new organisation and range of cars.

They give a three-year unlimited kilometre factory warranty; three-year unlimited kilometre roadside assist and a three-year unlimited kilometre service plan for passenger vehicles.

Gumtree is now the largest automotive site on the Internet in this country. In January alone cars and motorcycles had 1.9 million requests.

New models keep coming thick and fast in 2018. As the fourth biggest passenger car seller in the country Hyundai has just introduced their latest Grand i10, their best seller. With either a      1-litre 48kW motor or a 1.25-litre 64kW derivative, prices start at R155 000 going up to R186 900 for a 1.25 automotive (the 1-litre version is R179 900). Justifiably they reckon sales could reach 600 to 800 per month of these great small cars built in India. Spec is tops and so is the styling.

Another small car suitable for everybody who is thinking of down-sizing from bigger brands is the Toyota Yaris which has grown up big time. It is a lot bigger than the previous model which was really designed as a run-about in cities of Europe. Everything about the car – design, quality, comfort, space and a specification to die for. Prices start from R230 800. Competition comes from Polos, Fiestas and of course the Clio.

Parts basket is one of the cheapest in the market place at just over R12 000. That is as judged by Malcolm Kinsey’s Annual Parts Report. Also in early 2018 came the new Honda Jazz Sport and Civic Type R.

Alfa has brought in the Stelvio with lots of awards. VW Polo started its new assembly line and model plus a 2018 Polo Vivo. BMW has their new X3, and M5, while Hyundai has a new 4-ton “Mighty” truck. Ferrari showed off their new Porto Fino.

Since Geely, the Chinese manufacturer, took over the Volvo brand, sales have climbed upwards. The main sellers are the all-new XC60 and 90 series cars, both designed and built in Sweden.

Total sales last year were just under 572 000. Best growth area was Europe, the Middle East and Africa. This gave Volvo an operating profit of R21m.

To top it all the new XC60 has been crowned the Best Performing Large Off-Roader and the Car with the Best Overall Performance figures in 2017 in the Euro N-Cap Best in Class Safety Awards. Of course, Volvo over the years has led the way in car safety.

On the other side of the globe Honda has been setting records as well. In September last year alone 385 000 Honda cars were sold around the world with Asia taking 207 678.

Ford has just invested R3bn to get production of the new first ever Ford Ranger Raptor going right here in South Africa at Silverton. The Ranger has been an absolute winner for Ford here in SA and export markets.

Motorcyclists tend to forget the magnificent touring motorcycles made by Honda. A new Honda Gold Wing with its flat 6-cylinder engine now features four valves per cylinder and an electronic spec second to none. Even an electric windscreen is fitted for your comfort.

Porsche in 2017 increased their sales by 4% over 2016 with a total of 246 000 vehicles. A significant boost came from 28 000 new Panameras which showed an increase of 83% compared to 2016.

The new Cayenne, due to be launched in the second quarter of this year, should increase sales figures in leaps and bounds. Porsche say the aim for 2018 is to stabilise customer deliveries at the high levels achieved in 2017. We shall see.

An American, Bruce Brown, died at the age of 80. He was a film maker who in the ‘60’s made a film on surfing titled “The Endless Summer” which was seen throughout the world and got surfing under way. It was given its world premiere at the Labia Theatre in Cape Town.

In fact, Terry Bullen, a racing motorcyclist in the Cape, took Bruce Brown, who was out in South Africa for a visit, along to Jeffries Bay and found the perfect wave, which is famous in surfing circles.

After Endless Summer his other most notable film which popularised motorcycling throughout the world was “On Any Sunday” in 1971 bankrolled by Steve McQueen. Yamaha, in fact, bought the movie and showed it when they appointed a new dealer in a town. The result? Sales of motorcycles took off.

Another famous American, this time a Formula 1 star, Dan Gurney, also died earlier this year.

A famous man in motorcycle racing who was born in Rhodesia died in New York in December. He was Nobbie Clark. His real name was Derek. He acted as mechanic for some of the greatest riders of all time such as Hailwood, Ivy, Agostini, Roberts, Taveri, Jim Redman, Barry Sheene, Hocking, Ralph Bryans, Cal Carruthers, Rod Gould, Phil Reid, Jarno Saaranen, Luchinelli, all owed their successes to his tuning skills.

His passing I hear has also taken away the only ‘workshop manual’ there was on the Honda’s famous racing 6 away with him, in his head.

Another one of Winston Churchill’s famous quotes: “When you are 20 you care what everyone thinks. When you are 40 you stop caring what everyone thinks. When you are 60 you realise no-one was even thinking about you in the first place. You have enemies? Good. That means you have stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

The Guild of Motoring Journalists awarded their prestigious Sportsman of the Year award to Kevin van der Linde. Kevin’s father collected the award on  behalf of his son at the gala award ceremony where six nominees were on hand for the jury’s guild decision and presentation.

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.