Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Pricing for the brand new Audi S6 and S7 Sportbackis out! The S6 will cost R834 600 and the S7 is priced at R919 600 a pop. Both these figures are for the standard specification. For R77 200 you can get a Bang & Olufsen high-end sound system for instance, or pay R22 000 for Adaptive Cruise Control if you want.

The S6 and S7 are based on the A6 and A7 badges respectively, but offer a bit more sportiness for the customer. Both are powered by the same 4.0-litre turbo engine that makes a hugging 309kW and 550Nm of torque, sent to all wheels via quattro AWD and a 7-speeddouble clutch gearbox. Audi reckons the S6 will break off from 0 -100km/h in just 4.6 seconds, with the S7 doing the same in 4.7 seconds. Of course both are electronically limited to 250km/h.

Standard garb on the S6 includes a choice of alloy wheels, such as 8 x 18, 10 spoke design with size 245/45 R18 tyres, Alcantara leather trim, sports front seats, 4-zone climate control, and park distance control with rear view camera. S7 is pretty similar except it offers only 19-inch wheels.

Audi S6 and S7 Pricing
S6 (R834 600)
S7 Sportback (R919 600)


Here’s something scary. Toyota has, since it first started producing motor vehicles in 1935, sold 200 million of the machines globally so far! Imagine that! The brand that has pushed this number the highest is the Corolla, having done about 39 million units so far. That means if every Corolla ever built was only for Mzansi, there would be one for every household, with millions more left over for companies and government etc.

“I wish to expressmy heartfelt appreciation to our customers the world over who made it possible for us to reach this milestone,” says Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda. “I also have the most profound respect and gratitude for the efforts of all persons who were involved in developing, manufacturing, and marketing Toyota and Lexus vehicles over the years. We are determined to make our cars even better, to continue to give our customers the best possible product. This is the common goal of our 300 000 Toyota staff members worldwide.”

And with things going the way they are, Toyota looks set to remain the number one car company in the world, a titled it briefly relinquished to General Motors in 2010. 


The Ford Fiesta Ambiente TDCi manual has been named the most fuel efficient car in South Africa following this weekend’s Total Economy Run. Driven by Stuart Greig and Wynand Gerber the Fiesta used just 4.485 litres per 100km, to claim the overall and Class L laurels.

The Fiesta’s state-of-the-art common-rail injection Duratorq TDCi engine features advanced technologies that ensure optimal fuel economy and CO2 emissions without sacrificing on performance. The 1560cc motor develops 66kW at 4000rpm and has a torque peak of 200Nm at just 1500rpm equating to a 0-100 acceleration time of 11.9 seconds and a top speed of 175km/h.

“We were extremely impressed with the Fiesta and the exceptional results we were able to achieve this weekend,” said Greig after the event. “The competition was stiff but the Fiesta was up to the challenge.”

Ford continued to collect the silverware with rally stalwarts Charl Wilken and Greg Godrich dominating Class C in their Ford Fiesta 1.6 5-door Titanium. They used 6.013 litres per 100km on route to the class victory while Gordon Noble and Graham Bate followed them home in second place in their Ford Focus 1.6 Trend, using 6.151 litres per 100km.

Harry Young and Manfred Hertz rounded out a successful weekend for Ford, taking second place in Class B in their Figo 1.4 with an average fuel consumption figure of 6.328 litres per 100km.

The Total Economy Run remains the only contest where one is able to measure fuel consumption over the same route, distance and under the same regulations.

“We’re extremely proud of the team for demonstrating Ford’s efficient technologies and securing some fantastic results this past weekend,” said Ford Marketing Manager, Gavin Golightly. “With fuel efficiency an increasingly important consideration among consumers this event provided a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate Ford’s competitiveness in this area.”

All the vehicles that participated in the Total Economy Run were standard with no alterations or additions added to assist in fuel efficiency. Vehicles were monitored and scrutinized to ensure that all rules are adhered to, while the driver and navigator of each vehicle were accompanied by an assigned observer to ensure that all road and competition rules are complied with. 



General Motors and Manchester United today announced that the world's most popular football club's shirt sponsor will be Chevrolet beginning with the 2014/2015 season.  Chevrolet, the current Official Car Partner of the Club, will become only the fifth shirt sponsor in the Club’s 134 year history.

Announcing the deal, signed for an undisclosed amount, United’s Commercial Director, Richard Arnold, said: “This is a fantastic, long-term deal for the Club.  We have been partners with Chevrolet for only six weeks, but already they have produced some fantastic ideas that will benefit both the partnership and our 659 million followers around the world.  They are a key partner on our current tour and I know they have enjoyed experiencing the buzz generated by our fanatical support and the sell-out crowds in South Africa, China, and Europe. It is a great thrill for those of us who work with partners all year round when an existing partner steps up to being one of our principal partners.  This commitment to United and its fans will bring real benefits to everyone who cares about the Club.”

The US-based car company will replace Aon, whose partnership with United began in the 2010/11 season.

Alan Batey, GM North America Vice President, U.S. Sales and Service said: “We are extremely proud to connect our brand, Chevrolet, with Manchester United and its passionate supporters all around the world.  Manchester United’s statistics are impressive, but this relationship goes far beyond the numbers – this relationship is about connecting our brand with the deep-seated emotion that surrounds the team everywhere it goes.

"When you consider the core values of Chevrolet, our passionate customers around the world, and our rich 100 year history, the partnership with Manchester United is a perfect fit.  And, to be only the fifth name on the iconic red jersey is a genuine honour.  We very much look forward to the road ahead and the opportunities we have in partnering with such a legendary club.”


Monday, July 30, 2012


Christiaan du Plooy and Henk Janse van Vuuren (class SP RFS BMW X3) scored a popular and convincing maiden victory in the Absa Off Road Car Championship on Saturday when they crossed the finish line first in the Sun City 400 in North West Province.

After winning Friday’s 56 kilometre Donaldson prologue, the first time the Retirement Fund Solutions Racing pair has won the time trial that determines the start order for Saturday’s race, Du Plooy and Janse van Vuuren led throughout the 320 kilometre race after a well-judged and trouble-free run in the V8-engined BMW.

Behind them, in thick dust and hot conditions in the areas close to Pilanesberg, there were many retirements with only 32 of the original starters, made up of 30 production vehicles and 28 special vehicles, surviving a fast, tough route. It was the privateer Pretoria-based RFS team’s fourth success in the national off road championship since the diesel-engined version of the BMW scored a win in its first season in the hands of Hannes Grobler in 2010.

Grobler, who is competing in his final season after a distinguished 36-year motor sport career, went on to win two more races last year in the V8 BMW. The dice didn’t roll for him at Sun City last weekend. Starting first in Friday’s prologue he and co-driver Hennie ter Stege had the disadvantage of opening the route and lost three minutes when they had to stop and change a punctured wheel. This dropped them to 20th place among the production vehicles and 38th on the road.

They had made up a few places despite the heavy dust when an electrical malfunction caused the engine to die on them 111 kilometres into the Saturday’s race. They were unable to restart the car. Without scoring any points, they remain on 35,5 and drop from fifth to seventh place in the championship, 71 behind the leaders, Duncan Vos and Rob Howie (Toyota Hilux).

With a fine third place in last month’s Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race and now full points for their Sun City jackpot, Du Plooy and Janse van Vuuren have strengthened their fourth place in the championship and are now half a point behind third-placed former champions Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst (Ford Ranger) and 38 behind leaders Vos and Howie.

One of the youngest drivers to win a national championship off road race, an elated Du Plooy, 25, who never doubted his ability to stay ahead of the chasing pack after securing the critical advantage of a dust-free pole position, said: “Starting first on the road was key. We knew we had to push as hard as the road conditions allowed and keep the chasers in our dust. I drove fast when I could and was cautious in the tighter, technical sections where the danger of a puncture if you went off the track was always there. It was a tactic that worked for us.

“A big thanks from both of us to the entire RFS team, who have worked hard throughout the year. This win is for them,” said the 25-year-old

Grobler, a legend in South African motor sport with championships in both rallying and off road racing to his credit who has shared his considerable knowledge and experience with his younger team-mate, was generous in his praise of Du Plooy. “Christiaan has developed into a fine off road driver. There are more wins ahead for him in his future and he will be a worthy team leader next season.”


Friday, July 27, 2012


Suzuki Auto South Africa has announced a package of updates to its popular Alto hatchback – including the addition of a new entry-level model. The newcomer makes purchasing a new Suzuki Alto even more affordable than before.

The new Alto variant will be badged the Alto GA, and is joined by the newly rebadged Alto GLX. Together, the duo replace the previous GL and GLS models.

At R97 800, the new Alto GA is the most affordable Suzuki on the local market. It also gets styled steel wheels, while the interior features a cubby hole, new trim colours, and a more contemporary fabric for the seats.

Standard equipment remains similar to the outgoing GL model, and includes air-conditioning and power steering, while dual airbags, inertia-reel seat belts and head restraints ensure high passive safety standards.

Despite its ultra-compact dimensions, the Alto GL offers ample legroom front and rear, while folding the rear seatback down creates a capacious 754 litres of luggage space.

While the Alto GA is Suzuki’s new price beater, the new GLX retains the previous GLS model’s higher level of comfort and convenience features. It also benefits from the same, fresher interior execution.

The Alto GLX boasts with an extensive array of standard features, including remote central locking, electric front windows, and an integrated CD receiver with four loudspeakers. Air-conditioning and power steering remain part of the package, too.

Safety is both actively and passively addressed via ABS anti-lock brakes with electronic braking assistance (EBA) and electronic brake force distribution (EBD), as well as dual front airbags, inertia reel seat belts and head restraints.

The exterior and interior dimensions are identical for both models, but the GLX runs on smart 14-inch alloy wheels, shod with 155/65 R14 tyres.

Both the GA and the GLX retain the same mechanical underpinnings as their predecessors. A lively three-cylinder, 996 cc engine is credited with 50kW of maximum power at 6 000 rpm, while the torque peak of 87Nm is reached at 4 500 rpm.

With a five-speed manual gearbox and a kerb mass of just 850kg, the Alto delivers peppy performance and frugal fuel consumption. Top speed is 145km/h, while the Suzuki only needs 5.7 litres of unleaded petrol for every 100 km/h covered in the combined cycle.

The Alto colour palette has been adapted for 2012, with the deletion of Desert Brown metallic and Azure Gray Pearl metallic from the choice of hues, while Glistening Gray metallic has joined the list, bringing the number of colour options to nine.

Both Suzuki Alto models are covered by a three-year/100 000 km warranty. In addition, the Alto GLX comes standard with a three-year/45 000 km service plan. Service intervals are at one-year/15 000 km intervals.


Thursday, July 26, 2012


Mercedes-Benz Cars, the most luxurious division of Daimler AG, has posted a tidy before-tax profit of €1.314 billion (around R13.3 billion) for the second quarter of 2012. It sold 370 400 cars in the same period. That is very good news for the world’s number three premium car maker (behind BMW and Audi respectively).

“Despite the high expenses as previously announced for new products and technologies, our company was once again very profitable in the second quarter. We achieved strong growth in unit sales and revenue,” stated Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.

New cars will further boostsales and profits over the next 12 months. The new compact and hatchy A-Classhas been launched in Europe and will be in Mzansi within the next few months. So will the facelifted GLK compact SUV that competes with BMW’s X3 and Audi’s Q5. Next year we’ll see the facelifted E-Classand the new GL coming through.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Chevrolet today announced that it is entering into a four-year agreement with Liverpool Football Club to become its Official Automotive Partner.

The partnership runs to the end of the 2015/16 Barclays Premier League and European campaigns, and includes visibility for the brand at Anfield, Liverpool’s home ground; editorial opportunities within the Club’s print and digital publications and fan sites; and player appearances for commercial opportunities.

Chevrolet is also an official sponsor for the Club’s Pre Season Tour, one of the most popular in the world, which has already seen Liverpool play Toronto FC last Saturday. Liverpool will play Italian giants, AS Roma tomorrow at Fenway Park in Boston and on July 28, Liverpool will play English Premier League rivals, Tottenham Hotspur in Baltimore.

“Liverpool supporters from around the world are known for their undying love of their side, said Global Chevrolet Marketing Vice President Chris Perry. “Our relationship with Liverpool FC extends beyond the traditional boundaries of sponsorship and is about engaging with supporters. Everything we do will be aimed at keeping them at the centre of the game.”

Said Ian Ayre, managing director of Liverpool Football Club: “Much like our Club, Chevrolet has a long, rich history with a growing, global brand and this landmark partnership once again demonstrates the value of Liverpool's international appeal.

“Partnerships with blue chip brands like Chevy will help ensure the long-term growth and success of our Club, both on-and-off the pitch. We look forward to working closely with Chevy to help reach and engage our supporters, who are among the most passionate and educated fans in the world.”



A brand, spanking-new Peugeot RCZ is going to be Siyabonga Sangweni’s transport of delight for the next year, forming as it does part of his prize for being chosen as the Orlando Pirates Player of the Season 2011-2012, in which the Buccaneers became the first team in South Africa to win a second treble in a row.

Announced as the winner at a vibrant awards ceremony at Orlando Stadium on Saturday July 21, the lanky, 31-year-old Buccaneers defender – nicknamed Nsimbi – was clearly humbled when his name was announced ahead of such luminaries as Andile Jali, Oupa Manyisa and Moeneeb Josephs. In addition to being elected as the club’s top player, he was also voted Online Player of the season by fans, as chosen through a system of voting on the soccer team’s website.

The sexy RCZ two-seater coupĂ©, worth almost R400 000, was resplendent in black and dominated the venue, leaving Siyabonga’s rivals for the award green with envy!
“The association with Pirates has been a fantastic one for us, and we love being linked to such a successful, popular and iconic brand,” says Peugeot South Africa Managing Francis Harnie, who is also a keen soccer fan. “Exposing these sportsmen to our cars has reaped direct benefits, and no less than eight players or team personnel have already swopped to a Peugeot. They clearly love the flair, style and athleticism which we provide in personal transport – qualities which are synonymous with Pirates’ brand of football too.”

With a rich history going back to before World War 2, the club, like Peugeot, has plenty of heritage which makes the association a natural one. And all the club’s fans can enjoy the delights of the stylish French brand: card-carrying members of the Orlando Pirates Fan Club qualify for significant discounts across the Peugeot range – just by being a Pirates Fan Branch Club member it is possible to save up to R17 000 on Peugeot models!  Visit www.peugeot.co.za/orlando-pirates

“We would like to congratulate Siyabonga on winning this prestigious award.  Renowned for his hard tackling, he is a strong, explosive and versatile player and we are honoured to associate this admired sportsman with our powerful and stylish RCZ”, concluded Harnie.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Geely recently became one of the first Chinese manufacturers to reveal a self-developed six-speed automatic transmission. This represents a major step forward for the manufacturer, who is known in South Africa for its high value propositions, in the form of the LC and recently introduced LC Cross.

To date, a number of Chinese manufacturers have invested in similar developments, but Geely has been among the first to reach this goal. The new transmission is already in use in the recently launch Geely GX7 SUV and EC7 Sedan, both of which are destined for South Africa before the end of 2013.

The development of a high-quality automatic transmission, such as this one, has been a point of high priority for Chinese manufacturers. Having to rely on third-party suppliers has impacted on their profitability, but also limited their control over the supply of such parts.

In addition to the new transmission, Geely Deputy General Manager, Zhang Hangyan, also announced that the company is currently developing its own turbo-charger technology. This, again, represents a major step forward for Geely, and pushes it to the technological forefront in terms of Chinese auto development.

This new technology will be deployed on the upcoming SC5-RV compact city car, which is due for global release during the last quarter of 2012. Hangyan also revealed that Geely had completed research and development on a tyre pressure monitoring system, as well as a variety of safety systems.


Monday, July 23, 2012


Suzuki’s inimitable and enduringly popular Jimnyall-terrainer has just undergone a series of subtle improvements. The changes are all cosmetic and are aimed at endowing the little 4x4 with a sharper presence, while the interior also benefits from several improvements.

The most obvious improvements are to be found at the front of the Jimny, where the combination of a new bonnet, a cosmetically pleasing air scoop, redesigned grille and a bolder front bumper all add up to a more powerful appearance.

The bonnet gains a power bulge, which creates a more aggressive impression. The grille has been revised and now incorporates a more geometric design, with vertical bars replacing the rounded apertures of the previous model.

The bumper has also been redesigned, and now features a larger lower air intake, while the fog lamps have been repositioned, and are now located in recesses on either side of the intake – decreasing the risk of damage during serious off-road driving. A lower scuff plate provides protection at the bumper’s leading edge.

The Jimny’s cabin gains redesigned head restraints for both front and rear passengers. The new headrests provide improved comfort and support, and also allow the rear seats to be folded flat without the need to remove the head restraints.

Smarter cloth trim for the front bucket seats and the rear bench seat has been introduced, while a new colour, Breeze Blue metallic, has been added to the palette of colour options.

From a safety perspective, the latest Jimny now offers ISOFIX child seat anchor points, which augment an array of active and passive safety features that already includes ABS anti-lock brakes, dual SRS front airbags, three-point inertia reel seatbelts, and front and rear head restraints.

While the updates endow the Jimny with a fresher appearance inside and out, the compact all-terrainer’s technical underpinnings continue to offer a compelling combination of agile handling, legendary all-terrain capability, willing performance and pocket-pleasing fuel efficiency.

The drivetrain still links Suzuki’s tried and trusted 1 328 cc in-line four-cylinder engine to a five-speed manual gearbox and a low-range transfer case. That combination, together with the Jimny’s low mass, raised ride height and extended suspension travel, ensures exceptional 4x4 capability, almost regardless of the terrain.

Also unchanged is the Jimny’s comprehensive array of standard comfort and convenience features. The list includes air-conditioning, remote central locking, electrically operated windows and mirrors, power steering, a FM Stereo/AM receiver with CD front-loader, and an integrated alarm/immobiliser system.

The latest Suzuki Jimny goes on sale through Suzuki Auto SA’s national network of authorised dealers in mid-July, and retails for R198 900. The price includes a four-year/60 000 km service plan, and a three-year/100 000 km warranty.


Friday, July 20, 2012


Ford will enter the Mini Bus and Large Panel Van segment with a competitive offering as the all-new Transit Custom and Tourneo Custom models head to South African shores in the first quarter of 2013.

Representing a completely new generation of Ford one-tonne vehicles, the Transit Custom is set to offer impressive style, driver appeal and functionality to the one-tonne commercial vehicle market. Also headed for South Africa is the people-mover version of the Transit Custom, known as the Tourneo Custom.

Both the Transit Custom and the Tourneo Custom will be offered in long and short wheelbase versions, with the Tourneo Custom offering seating capacity for eight occupants.

Both models feature a bold exterior design which embodies the same dynamic character as Ford’s kinetic design passenger cars. Low running costs start with excellent fuel economy, delivered by Ford’s 2.2-litre Duratorq TDCi diesel engine available in both vehicles.

The new Transit Custom and Tourneo Custom also boast a modern, driver-focused cockpit which combines stylish looks with smart stowage solutions and a wide range of driver assistance technologies.

With its bold design, car-like interior and outstanding driving dynamics, the Ford Transit Custom will appeal to a broad range of professionals, skilled tradesmen and small businesses.

The Tourneo Custom offers exceptional people-carrying abilities, with seating for up to eight passengers, superior levels of quality and exceptional versatility. Its high-opening tailgate and flexible seating configuration, allow one to fold or stow the second and third row seats in more than 30 different ways, resulting in unbeatable space for passengers and their belongings.

The new Transit Custom and Tourneo Custom models for South Africa will be built at the Ford Otosan plant in Kocaeli, Turkey. 


Thursday, July 19, 2012


The Australian golf player and Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador Adam Scott will be playing this week in the 141st Open Championship – the world's oldest golf tournament, and the only major not held on US soil. And for the second consecutive year, Mercedes-Benz will be there as “Official Car of the Open Championship”.

As a highlight in the lead-up to the event, Mercedes-Benz racing driver David Coulthard surprised Adam Scott with a drive in the new CLS 63 AMG Shooting Brake, due to celebrate its world premiere in a few days' time.

During a quick spin through the picturesque Lancashire countryside, the duo talked about their two shared passions: Mercedes-Benz cars and golf. “It was fantastic. What a surprise to be picked up by David Coulthard and driven out to the golf course. Just to spend some time with him, what he had to say and listen to him talk about driving”, said Adam Scott with enthusiasm.

Then Adam Scott had to take his leave to continue training for the Open, giving David Coulthard some time to pay a visit to the historic Royal Lytham & St Anne's Golf Club.

David Coulthard was impressed by the new CLS Shooting Brake: “I love the fact that Mercedes-Benz are always coming out with new concepts. And I think the CLS Shooting Brake as a concept works. Because you have something which is very sporty looking, but equally it can be used for everyday driving. And of course it has the space that you want in this type of class of car.”



In addition to the company’s 5-year commitment to Springbok Rugby as official vehicle partner – announced in May 2011 – BMW South Africa has announced a number of local rugby icons to act as ambassadors for the premium German vehicle brand.

Alongside Springbok captain, Jean De Villiers (DHL Stormers) and Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer, the BMW ambassadors include Schalk Burger (DHL Stormers), Pierre Spies and Chiliboy Rallepelle (Vodacom Bulls) and Francois Steyn, JP Pietersen and Jannie du Plessis (The Sharks). 

BMW has also appointed Springbok rugby legend Victor Matfield as a non-playing ambassador. Matfield will act as host for BMW’s VIP hospitality suites at local matches as well provide expert content for the company’s rugby-specific website. 

As part of the agreement, each playing ambassador receives a brand new BMW 335i Sport, built at Plant Rosslyn in Pretoria. De Villiers, Meyer and Matfield also each receive a BMW X6 XDrive40d in addition to their BMW 3 Series vehicles.

“The new BMW 3 Series epitomises speed, power and dynamism in every respect and delivers ultimate performance in every field. Even more significantly, this car is locally built and exported around the world,” explains Guy Kilfoil, General Manager: Communications and Public Affairs at BMW South Africa. “Because of this, the BMW 3 Series is the perfect vehicle to embody BMW’s involvement with Springbok Rugby. It highlights all of the reasons we’re involved in the dynamic, high-performance sport which has played such a huge role in showing the world just what South Africa is capable of.”

Since South Africa’s readmission into top-flight international sport, the Springboks have come to represent agility, power, passion, precision, speed, skill, teamwork, courage and, above all, the thrill of competition. Following Rugby World Cup wins in 1995 and 2007, the Springboks are also an integral element of the cultural and sporting makeup of South Africa and the brand is instantly recognizable globally.

Similarly, BMW is characterized by dynamism, innovation, aesthetics and the sheer joy of driving. It has also become part of South Africa’s social fabric thanks to its long-term commitment to the country’s economy. The company’s local subsidiary was its first outside of Europe when it was established in 1973 and has become the tenth biggest for BMW worldwide.

“It’s a real privilege for me to be one of BMW’s Springbok Ambassadors and to be driving these brilliant cars,” explains Springbok Captain, Jean de Villiers. “As the Boks we strive to be the best in the world and this is shared by BMW, probably one of the most iconic car brands in the world. This passion for performance is clearly evident in the products we’re driving.” 



July 9th, 2012 saw the release of the 2012 Fortune Global 500 list – Fortune Magazine’s authoritative ranking of the world’s 500 biggest companies. The Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, with a revenue of USD 23.3557 billion (R190 billion) earned in 2011, is included in the list and is ranked 475th. The first three names of this year’s Fortune 500 camp are respectively Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil, and Wal-Mart Stores.

This is a first appearance on the highly esteemed list for Geely, known locally for its high value-for-money offerings, such as the LC and recently introduced LC Cross. After Geely’s successful acquisition of Volvo Cars in 2010, new batches of Geely products have been launched to the international market in succession, such as EC7, EC8, GX7. Most of these models are also destined for South African shores, before the end of 2013.

Making high quality cars and maintaining high safety standards has now become the signature of Geely. For the first half of 2012, Geely showed robust growth momentum in the international market, showing 210% of growth, compared to the same period last year.

Additionally, Volvo Cars, whose parent company is the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, sold 449 255 vehicles globally last year, which equates to an increase of 20.3% compared to the sales volume of 373 525 cars in 2010. Concerning the business revenue, USD 18.59 billion was earned in 2011, which is 11.1% higher than the year before.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Volkswagen Group South Africa sold 47 531 (43 661 vehicles: January to June 2012) vehicles in the first half of 2012, a 8.9% increase when compared to the same period in 2011. The increase in the vehicle delivery in the first half of 2012 gave Volkswagen Group South Africa a 22.5 % market share in the South African total car market.

Polo Vivo was again the top selling brand in the passenger car market from January to June with 16139 units.

“The performance of our three brands - Volkswagen Passenger, Audi and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles - in the first half of 2012 was very pleasing. The second half of year will be challenging but we remain positive to finish the year as the leading Group in the South African passenger car market,” said Mike Glendinning, Director: Sales and Marketing, Volkswagen Group South Africa.

Internationally, Volkswagen Group delivered 4.45 million (4.09 million in January to June 2011) vehicles between January and June 2012, a 8.9% increase compared to the same period in 2011.

Christian Klingler, Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Group for Sales said: “Vehicle deliveries by the Volkswagen Group developed very well in the first half of the year but that is by no means a cause for excitement. The economic situation, particularly in Western Europe remains tense and difficult.”

Klingler added: “We remain on track and are entering the second half of the year, which will be more challenging, with confidence.”



The United Statesis getting Jaguar’s new engines for the XF sedan ahead of Mzansi. These motors will place the puss in very good boots when it comes to the fight for customers normally aligned with the German premium trio of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. We especially like the new 3.0-litre supercharged V6…

Said V6 dispenses 250kWof power for the rear wheels, making it as powerful as the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 and Lexus GS 450h. All that of course goes to the rear wheels using an 8-speed automatic transmission. At the lower end of the scale is an entry-level 2.0-litre turbo petrol shared with the Range Rover Evoque, making 177kW. This particular XF will compete against the 180kW BMW 528i and the 170kW Mercedes-Benz E300. There is no Audi A6 equivalent in Mzansi.

Monday, July 16, 2012


2013 GLK facelift

Mercedes-Benz, now in third place behind BMW and Audi globally when it comes to selling premium cars, is adding yet another derivative in order to catch up with its two German brethren. According to a statement from company CEO Dieter Zetsche, a smallest Benz SUV is in the works. Surprised? No! Because BMW and Audi already have the X1 and Q3 respectively. Merc has no choice but to compete.

The baby SUV, which slots below the GLK (not in SA, yet…) may be called the GLA, will be based on the same platform as the new A-Class hatch and be built at Rastatt plant. Merc realises that compact premium cars are selling very well in this day and age, a realisation further compounded by the fact that it’s sold over 70 000 new B-Class models since launch and has standing orders of over 40 000for the A-Class.

The usual raft of engines will make its way into the “GLA”, such as the 1.8-litre turbo petrol with 115kWand the 2.1-litre turbo diesel making 150kWand 500Nm. Hopefully Merc keeps to its sporting heritage and makes us a nice AMGversion of over 250kW. Whoa!


Good morning boys and girls. Here is the first leaked full picture of the upcoming 2013 Range Rover. Land Rover has gone to great pains to hide this car from the public eye, but the folks over at US site Motor Authority somehow circumvented tight security to bring the pic to the fore. Thanks MA!

As you can see, the car looks very clean and polished in terms of design. While many were expecting it to take from the Evoque, Land Rover bypassed the fashionstatement and went for a classical clean look with traditional metal sheet; no Chris Bangle-like kinky curves etc. Although the big body Range looks smaller than its predecessor, we expect size to matter, with at least a longer wheelbase and overall length.

Engines that will be seen here will include a twin turbo diesel making over 600Nm, and two petrols, including a 250kWsupercharged V6 and some V8 with over 300kW.

The 2013 Range Rover big body should be in South Africa before the second half of 2013.


A Suzuki Grand Vitara SUV has completed 7 000 km gruelling Africa kilometres, mostly off the beaten track, while competing in the annual Put Foot charity rally. Piloted by Team Half Full Four, and sponsored by Suzuki Auto South Africa, the Grand Vitara took everything from potholed roads and desert dunes to muddy marshlands and sandy beaches in its stride.

“Suzie, as we dubbed our trusty Grand Vitara, completed the more than 7 000 km without any technical issues whatsoever, despite conditions that were arduous at times,” says team captain Ron Rutland.

“We really tested Suzie to the absolute limit, and she not only survived everything we threw at her, but seemed to enjoy it as much as we did! She took us to parts of the countries on our route which literally no other teams visited, and allowed me to show my Kiwi team mates the absolute best that Africa has to offer.”

The Team Half Full Foursome consisted of Rutland and three New Zealanders: Jimmy 'Radar' Parfitt, 'Field Nurse' Kate Parfitt, and Helen 'Ostrich' Parfitt. Jimmy and Kate Parfitt are based in China, while fellow Kiwi Helen works and lives in London.

The quartet and their trusty Suzuki was one of 60 teams participating in the 17-day Put Foot Rally – a charity event organised by the Put Foot Foundation. The foundation provides African learners with brand new, South African-made leather school shoes – and the hope, pride and dignity those shoes represent.

Collectively, the participating teams raised R600 000 for the foundation. This year, a portion of the funds was donated to Project Rhino, an initiative combating rhino poaching in Southern Africa.

The rally started in South Africa, and traversed Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi before ending on the Mozambican coast. The teams were able to choose their own route between compulsory check-point parties in each country.

Ron says the shoe drop in Zambia was a particular highlight of the event. “I believe it would have changed the lives and perspectives of the rally participants just as much as it did the lives of the learners who received those much-needed shoes.

“I’d like to thank Suzuki Auto SA for its generous sponsorship. We’re over the moon that we were able to showcase the impressive capabilities of our trusty Grand Vitara over such varied and testing terrain,” Rutland concluded.


Sunday, July 15, 2012


The wettest weather experienced on a round of the SA Rally Championship in years was not enough to prevent Castrol Team Toyota’s Johnny Gemmell and Carolyn Swan from scoring their first win together in the Volkswagen Rally in the Eastern Cape on Saturday.

Round four of the championship, run over two days in the Uitenhage, PE, Longmore Forest and Gamtoos areas, coincided with heavy rain and freezing temperatures that moved in from the west on Thursday night, turning the 180 kilometres of gravel special stages into a slippery and in places water-logged obstacle course that caught out many of the competitors.  One stage on Friday and two on Saturday had to be cancelled because of the conditions.

Gemmell and Swan led former champions Jan Habig and Robert Paisley (Ford Fiesta) by five seconds after Friday’s four stages, with Castrol Toyota team-mates Leeroy Poulter and Elvene Coetzee a close third, 13 seconds behind the Ford.  All three won a stage to set up the prospect of a close-fought battle for the overall honours on Saturday.

Gemmell won the opening stage six over a challenging 19 kilometres in the Longmore Forest and opened up the lead to some 27 seconds and, although Habig won the next three stages, Gemmell controlled the race from the front, leading on the road throughout the day and finally taking his second VW victory and Swan’s first in the premier class.

In the process, the Toyota pair moved into the lead in the championship with four rounds remaining and now enjoys a three-point lead over Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton (Ford Fiesta). Cronje and Houghton finished third, 1 min 32 seconds behind the winning Toyota after inheriting the final podium position from Poulter and
Coetzee on stage nine.

“It was a tough rally and the weather made things very difficult, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself,” said Gemmell.  “We had a trouble-free run except for going off the road on the opening stage on Friday and a spin that cost us a few seconds on stage two.  It was good to be back on the top step of the podium and we’re delighted to be in the championship lead.”  

Poulter slid off the road on a tight right-hand corner on stage nine and beached his car on a roadside bank while leading Cronje by a comfortable 44 seconds and trailing Habig by seven seconds.

“It was a slight miscalculation, but in the conditions it turned out to be very costly,” said Poulter.  “We were holding a comfortable third place and close enough to Habig to take advantage of any mistake or problem on his part.”   

Giniel de Villiers and Ralph Pitchford gave the brand new Imperial Toyota Auris its national championship debut in their first appearance of the year.  Adopting a cautious approach to his first drive in the Toyota under the most difficult of conditions, the 2009 Dakar Rally winner was 10th and 2 min 26 sec behind Gemmell and Swan at the overnight stop in Uitenhage on Friday.  A puncture on stage nine prevented him from improving on his position and he dropped to 13th overall at the finish after stopping to change the wheel.

“I was a little too cautious today and it showed in my times,” said De Villiers.  “The conditions were very bad and I didn’t want to break the car first time out.  It was a very fast rally despite the slippery and wet conditions and if you got it wrong the consequences were going to be serious.  I really enjoyed my first drive in the Auris.  It has the power and handled very well.  It’s the best rally car I’ve driven.”

Toyota Motorsport boss Glyn Hall commented: “We’re happy to have emerged from a very testing weekend with a win for Johnny and Carolyn.  We’ve worked hard to optimise the performance of our rally car and it all came together today.  Now we’re leading both the rally and the off road national championships and are well-placed to push on for victories in both.” 

//PART 2