BMW April 2022

South Africa is certainly on the World International MotoGP racing map. The Binder brothers from Krugersdorp, Daryn, and his brother Brad, (a World Moto3 Champion) have certainly earned their spurs in Moto3 and Moto GP racing. Right there with the front runners they are always described as “The South Africans, Daryn and Brad Binder”.

Another man to hit the front, Steven Odendaal, on his Yamaha, with three wins under the belt leads the 2021 World SuperSport Championship against a lot of competition.  Unlike many others he also gets referred to as the South African, Steven. Odendaal.

Volkswagen has sold 18 million Polo’s to date in the 45 years they have been making them.

Polo’s hit our shores in 2018 and since then have sold 66 452 units to make it South Africa’s best-selling passenger car after its sister, the Polo Vivo. They command an 18.4% share of the AO Hatch Segment of the market.   

VW in Uitenhage, who currently operate a three-shift pattern, will be building the new Polo and Polo GTs for export and local markets.

Statistics in the first three months of this year saw a rise in hijacking of both cars and trucks by 4.9% and a whopping 24.6% respectively. Be vigilant at all times.

If you own a Hino truck and live in KZN you are in good hands. The Dealer of the Year once again who aims to retain the title forever is Hino in Pinetown.

Range Rover Velar has expanded their range. There are now 17 models that start at R1 458 600 and top out at R1 834 000.

Porsche has extended their individualisation programme, now offering customers to design and build one-off cars for them. Tequiment Porsche offers numerous accessory products to retrofit for individual customers. Porsche really are classic vehicles. 

Hilti South Africa is adding to their business fleet which they have had great service. They now own 80 double cab Rangers. They also enjoy the dedicated range of Ford support teams that provide an exceptional customer experience.

Sad to report the loss of some serious members of the media over the last couple of months. Motorsport TV Kingpin, Jan Hartzer, passed away in May of Covid 19.  He was just 60.

Julian Lurie, the well-known senior journalist from KZN, who, besides his journalism and radio programmes was a dedicated motorsport organiser and former rallyist in KZN.

Also sad to report that Max Moseley, the former President of the FIA who controlled motorsport in the world – plus he was the “M” in the March Formula 1 Team, passed away recently at 81.  He certainly made a difference to everything he undertook. 

A well-deserved “World Car Person of the Year” is Akia Toyoda who was unanimously rated the 2021 Year Car Person of the Year by 93 World Car jurists from 28 countries.  Amongst the other were finalists from Hyundai, Mazda and Tata.

Akia was the former grandson of the founder of Toyota. He also entered motor racing in his early days. He used to race under the name of Toyota Gazoo so his parents didn’t know he was racing cars.

Hard to beat Toyota Gazoo these days. Giniel de Villiers is back on his winning ways in our off-road championship with navigator Denis Murphy. They recently won the Sugerbelt 400.

Brand Pretorius (73) after many years as Chairman has resigned from the Met-Air Board. He was highly involved with Toyota after a long career in the motor industry as MD of Toyota Marketing, McCarthy’s and lots of other companies.

BMW has a new chief at its head here in South Africa where he started his career 27 years ago. He is Peter van Binsbergen.

CFO of Isuzu Motors, Mitsituru Yageta (64) has retired after 40 years with Isuzu the largest manufacturer of diesel engines in the world.  He has been succeeded by Nichiuki Miura.

Our South African designer of Grand Prix cars and hottest road cars every built, Gordon Murray, has just launched a 541kW-engined car. It costs a cool R64m.

Troopie, the Toyota Land Cruiser’s 76 bakkie which many people have been driving for 20-30 years on our roads, has returned to South Africa.

Mercedes-Benz has pulled the covers off their new C12 sedan. It is their first electric car.

Good Year South Africa has received a seal of affirmation as the top employer in the country. They have been in South Africa for 67 years.   

Andrew Kirby has been re-elected as the President of NAAMSA. Other members of the committee are Neale Hill CEO of Ford, Gavin Scott CEO of KIA and Favio Souza MD of Scania.

There is a new name for an automotive group called Stellantis which is a merger of Peugeot/Citroen/Opel, Fiat/Chrysler and Alfa. Based on last year’s sales in the world this new company already ranks sixth behind passenger car sales leaders Volkswagen, Toyota, GM, Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Alliance and Hyundai/KIA. Annual sales are around 8 million units combined.

I remember Spence Stirling, the CEO of Sigma 30 years ago telling me there will eventually only be seven motor groups worldwide. He is not far wrong.

The global motor industry was shaken the other day when Japan announced that there would be no petrol-powered vehicles in the next 15 years.

Akio Toyoda, the 64-year-old President of Toyota, says don’t rush to forego petrol cars, as many countries don’t provide electricity – other than in their major cities.

Toyota is going to build a new passenger car in Durban. It is the Toyota Corolla Cross. R2.4bn is invested in this project. It will create R2.85bn a year for the local component industry.

To celebrate 70 years of the C-type Jaguar the company is making a strictly limited number of hand-built examples of this legendary 1950’s Le Mans racer. It was the first car, by the way, in history to ever use disc brakes … taken from an aircraft.   

You can now purchase a new factory-built 1953 Le Mans 24-Hour winner for the first time.

The World Land Speed record attempt by the Bloodhound that was going to be running on Huckskeen Pan to set up a new land speed record is up for sale.    

The Covid 19 Pandemic has not exactly helped the project in finding funds for this one-off project. There are still rumours around that Renault South Africa will be bringing in a half-ton bakkie named the Duster Rorch next year.

Also – a rumour in the pipeline is the Renault Sandero is going to be dropped from the range in South Africa. Toyota Land Cruiser has launched a refrigerated vehicle to handle the low temperatures that Covid vaccines require around the world.

Toyota has added to the best-selling Toyota Quest range. Prices start at R278 400 rising to R343 000.

Alfa Romeo has dropped the Giulia and Stelvio models from their range of cars.

Toyota has a new Gazoo racing Corolla with a two litre, four cylinder motor pushing out 220 kW.  It’s a Hybrid as well.

Suzuki has increased the production of their popular Jimny which used to have a two-year waiting list.   It will be a much shorter wait from now on.   

Quote of the day: “We jail the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office”  –  Aesop.

Don’t forget to listen to Roger McCleery to hear  more inside stories every Tuesday afternoon on his Motoring programme on Radio Today (1485 AM) or on DSTV Audio Channel 869, on social media and podcast around the world.

By Roger McCleery