Wednesday, 29 April 2009


General Motors has officially announced that that Pontiac brand will no longer be carried by the company. Several months ago Pontiac was touted as the brand most likely to be shoved off by a bleeding GM. But these rumours were denied by the company which stated that options were being investigated, including selling Pontiac.

That will no longer happen. As from the end of 2010 people won’t be able to buy new Pontiac-branded cars and trucks/ vans. In any case, Pontiac is more of an American brand than a world one.

More than this the other frail brands HUMMER, Saturn and SAAB could also be taken off the dealership floors. As many as 21 000 jobs could be affected. Prospective buyers for HUMMER and SAAB have been identified but nothing has come out of those discussions yet. The US-based carmaker is edging ever so close to filing for bankruptcy after loans of US$13.4 billion failed to bail out the company out of its 2008 annual loss of US$30.9 billion.

In South Africa GM SA recently announced it is to shed up to 700 jobs. The company also killed off several models from its Opel lineup in order to cut costs and improve margins.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009


Hard to believe that it’s already facelift time for the big Audi Q7. Audi’s first ever SUV has received a mild makeover in many areas including exterior and interior. A new front bumper with a single frame and vertical chrome accents, new side sills and underbody protection, different fender flares and LED front and taillights make up the bulk of the changes.That means now the whole Audi range has LED lights, except the current A8 which is due for replacement in 2010.

The interior is also different to include a new dashboard cluster, ambient lighting on the doors and more chrome.

Most of the engines remain the same in the form of the 3.6-litre petrol V6 worth 206kW and 360Nm, the 4.2-litre petrol V8 making 257kW and 440Nm, a 3.0-litre TDI which is good for 176kW and 550Nm and finally the 4.2-litre TDI V8 which does a hefty 250kW and 760Nm.

I took the TDI V8 for a spin in 2008 and I must say, more power than that might be insane but it’s nevertheless quite welcome. The car took off on a straight line like fake DVDs in China. Even going uphill proved to be effortless for the powerful Q7. Moreover it averaged only 13.3 litres of diesel per 100km.

Most-awaited is the V12 TDI with its 6.0-litre turbodiesel engine. When it’s released it should prove to be the most powerful diesel SUV in the world with 368kW, and certainly the one with the most torque at 1000Nm from 1750rpm. Audi says it will travel from 0 – 100km/h in 5.5 seconds.

The facelifted Q7 range is expected in Mzansi later on in the year or in the first quarter of 2010 along with the new V12 TDI.

Monday, 27 April 2009


The American market will be that much richer with the introduction of a new Corvette Grand Sport. The car is based on the LS3 powertrain and comes in two styles; a coupe and a convertible.

GM has used the 6.2-litre LS3 V8 engine to power the car to the tune of 430bhp (321kW) and maximum torque of 424 lb.-ft (575Nm). Performance is said to be improved by 0.2 seconds over other LS3 models. It comes fitted with either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic. Tyre sizes measure 275/35ZR18 at the front and 325/30ZR19 at the rear.