Fiat/Chrysler has submitted a proposal to merge with the Renault/Nissan/Mitsubishi global alliance. This combination will create the third largest manufacturer in the world with a potential of nearly nine million vehicle sales per year. No plant closures as a result of this combination are forecast. The times they are a-changing.
It looks likely that fuel prices will not come down in the foreseeable future. Prices might alter by 10c/15c per litre. The fact is we will be paying premium prices for our fuel in the future as the Government continues to use the motorist as a cash cow.
Carbon tax will also add an additional 9c per litre to the petrol price and 10c to the diesel price. We can’t win.
Turbo Direct South Africa has added the leading Mitsubishi brand to its list of exclusive quality International turbos. With Garrett and Borg Warner turbos they make up 90% of all turbos fitted to vehicles produced in the world.
This is the time of the year when motor companies award their dealers with Excellence Awards for the previous year.
Honda’s dealers who came out tops were Tygerberg, Pinetown, Port Elizabeth and Richards Bay. Motorcycle dealers were Tygerberg once again, Cape Town and Pietermaritzburg.
Top performing Suzuki dealers in 2018/19 was Suzuki Bramley for the fifth time. Dealers from as far afield as Piet Retief and Eswatini were also recognised. The Large Dealership Awards went to Kew in Johannesburg, their second win in three years and fifth since Suzuki entered the market in 2008.
Volkswagen also had their Awards Ceremony. Hatfield Volkswagen in Braamfontein was their Dealer of the Year. Garth la Reservee from the Alpine Group in Pinetown also won the Dealer Micro Group of the Year Award. The Micro Dealer Group went to the Hatfield Group.
International Motor shows were all the rage at the beginning of the year. Peugeot with their 3008 SUV won the New Car of the Year Award as voted by 63 000 UK drivers at the annual Auto Trader New Car Awards in London. This is the 66th award for the Peugeot 3008 SUV.
Jaguar also won more titles with their electric motor and power train at the Industrial Engine and Powertrain of the Year Awards in Stuttgart.
Continuing to build their legend, Mitsubishi Motors with their new Eclipse Cross won a string of awards in Russia topped by the 2018/19 Compact SUV of the Year.
The awards didn’t stop there. 31 Journalists from 31 countries named Opel Combo Life as their Best Buy car in Europe at the Autobest 2019 event.
Mazda’s next generation Mazda 3, which is due for release in South Africa later this year, took a 5-Star Euro Ncap rating emphasising the safety for both adult occupants and children in their car seats.
Not really affecting us but the Hyundai Kona launched at the end of 2018 had a new electric CUV. It was named as the North American Utility Vehicle at the auto show in Detroit.
Volkswagen continues as top passenger car seller with the Polo Vivo topping the list followed by Toyota, Hyundai, Renault and Ford, according to figures published in April.
Audi achieved a 20% market share in a premium sector with the Volkswagen commercial vehicle showing they are having their best quarter in four years.
Talking Volkswagen, their popular Peoples Pavilion in Uitenhage welcomed its 500 000th visitor through its doors. They have been open for just five years with some unique displays. In 2018 alone 100 000 visitors were welcomed to Uitenhage.
Record breaking is the name of the game as 500 000 Fiat 500 X’s have just been made. Fiat is 120 years old.
Available in South Africa is Hyundai’s popular H1 bus which is now being increased in capacity to carry 12 people. Not used as a taxi but rather an elite bus which for air crew hotels and for family and friends going on their holiday. Retail price is R665 000.
After 39 years of being one of Volkswagen’s popular sedans, the Volkswagen Jetta has quietly slipped away. Sedans that are slow to market still feature the classic and beautiful Arteon 4-door sedan in the Volkswagen line-up.
Only one of 15 people in the world to have travelled 200 000km in his BMWi3 electric car is Shaun Maidment of Centurion who owned not one but two of these cars. He says a leisurely way to travel having taken four days to get to Cape Town. This gave him the opportunity to see a lot of our smaller towns and playing a lot of golf on the way to the Mother City.
Despite the drop in the market sales over the first five months new and current models just keep coming thick and fast. Toyota has improved its pioneering Prius Hybrid with a whole new sense of style and simplified design language. It forms part of Toyota’s new global architecture policy towards improving current models and exciting new models being introduced.
The Prius has restyled front and rear ends which add length to the dynamic design. Retail price is R490 200.
Believe it or not there is a new era for the Toyota Quantum. The current taxi will become known as the Hi-Ace with a new Quantum being introduced with a semi-bonnet design. It is aimed at people-carrying, families or hotel use, aircrews, etc. A 14-seater retails for R613 500. The Hi-Ace taxi models of which there are two – either petrol or diesel engine go for R419 100 or R444 200.
Nissan is introducing yet a further Navarra derivative called the Stealth.
Announced by our President, at the new R3bn major investment launch at Rosslyn, the new Stealth could create 30 000 new units per annum and certainly the need to employ more staff for both factory and component manufacturers. The Stealth model is going to be exported in right-hand drive and left-hand drive to 45 countries in Africa alone.
With the Toyota Auris being dropped comes a new Corolla Hatch to replace it with an exciting new model within the Toyota range.
Renault has launched a new Sandero Stepway 8 Plus to add many features to the current model. They enjoyed great success with 58 000 sold already into the South African market.
The Opel Astra Sport 1.6 Turbo now comes with an automatic box. Selling price is R508 000.
Great tributes were paid to Niki Lauda who died just before the Monaco Grand Prix. Tributes poured in from all over the world including Lewis Hamilton, who was very close to Lauda and dedicated his win that day (the fourth of the six GPs held this year) to him.
Second was the Vettel-driven Ferrari, with Bottas third. Verstappen who finished second on the road, was demoted by five seconds due to touching the Bottas car leaving the pits after a tyre change. I love the fact that the ENCA news anchor called Hamilton “Louie”.
After the Monaco Grand Prix came the Indy 500 which was led for no less than 116 of its 200 laps by the son of a French grocer, Simon Pagenaud, in his Chev-engined raced by the Roger Penske team – all Indy cars are made by Dallara. A tenth of second behind Pagenaud was the American, Rossi, with a Honda motor with Japanese driver Sato a fraction of a second behind them also powered by Honda.
Interesting to note that Kimi Raikonnen driving in Monaco actually completed his 300th Formula 1 Grand Prix race. Known as the Ice Man he is as straight forward as you can be. His debut race was in a Sauber in Australia in 2001 and after 18 years he is still at it. He had a two-year break from Formula 1 and went rallying returning to the single seater sport.
The Toyota Gazoo team carries on unbeaten in the South African off-road championship scene. As championship title holders it was left to new boy Henk Lategan to take the honours from Giniel de Villiers in the Berg 400 run around Winterton in KZN. Lategan’s navigator was an ex motorcycle off-road champion, Brent Cummings.
Red-lined motorsport continued their perfect record of finishes at Winterton in the FIA Class Nissan Navara on this gruelling race. Terence Marsh had Gugu Zulu’s wife beside him for the second time as his navigator.
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.