Friday, 15 May 2009


FIAT SAYS: Black & Decker, partnered with Fiat and ran a national promotion in all Game, Makro, Builders Warehouse and Builders Express stores where the first prize was a brand new Fiat 500 1.2 POP, and ten R5000 runner-up Black & Decker hampers. The competition was run from October 2008 and ended in January 2009. Numerous magazine adverts were placed as well as television advertising on DTSV’s Home Channel.

Mr Arend Doorduin from Pringle Bay in the Western Cape was the lucky winner of the super-cool Fiat 500 1.2 POP. Arend is originally from The Netherlands, but moved to South Africa many years ago. Initially he settled in Brits just outside Pretoria, but later moved down to Pringle Bay, where he and his wife Hannatjie now reside. Arend filled in the competition entry form at Game Somerset Mall while out shopping for a new cordless drill for his wife.

A few weeks later, after entry forms were received from all corners of the country, Arend was notified that he had won the first prize. The Black & Decker team had to verify that the person on the other side of the line was indeed Mr Doorduin, and asked a few questions to confirm his identity. Initially he thought it was a scam, and that Black & Decker was trying to sell him insurance. After clearing that up, arrangements were made to meet an elated Arend in Somerset West to hand over the Fiat 500. The Fiat 500’s keys were handed over by Game Somerset Mall’s store manager, Ahmed Nazeer, and the vehicle was collected from Droomers Somerset West.

Arend and Hannetjie Doorduin are overjoyed with their new Fiat 500: “The car is a pleasure to drive, small, convenient, cute and economical. It attracts such a lot of attention too. The retro look is especially appealing to us since we’re both old enough to remember the original 60's model.”


Lexus SA will be launching the new generation RX SUVs this coming July. In the range will be the RX350 petrol and RX450h PERFORMANCEHYBRID derivatives.

The Hybrid RX450h uses second-generation Lexus Hybrid Drive technology to muster a total of 220kW from the 3.5-litre V6 and electric drive. Lexus is confident the car will match its petrol competitors in performance and its diesel counterparts in frugality.

Lower down the rung is the RX350 whose 3.5-litre petrol V6 helps it achieve 204kW of power and 346Nm of maximum torque. Two trim levels, the SX and the XE will be sold with the RX350. Both will come with specific options and extras and no other options will be sold separately. For Lexus this makes sense in order to protect the resale values of their clients’ cars over time. But I’m sure that since this is Lexus the goodie bag will be full.

As for the RX450h, the specs will be determined by whether buyers choose the SX or the LXE trim level.

“The RX400h was very well accepted by customers, accounting for 37% of RX sales despite our production allocation being heavily restricted,” says Kevin Flynn, General Manager of Lexus SA. “We expect the market share of hybrid to increase substantially with the new generation RX as the market continues to adopt the technology and begins to understand the benefits of petrol electric hybrid better.”


CHRYSLER SAYS: Chrysler South Africa (Pty) Ltd importers of the Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge range of vehicles as well as the Mopar range of spares has once again increased the footprint of its dealer body with the opening of a new dealership as well as plans for a further two in the coming months.

From 1st May 2009, Star Motors opened a new dealership in Kingwilliamstown offering full sales and service facilities in the Eastern Cape region. Star Motors is owned by the Kempston Group.

Future Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge dealerships include Rola Motors in the Strand who will be opening a new stand-along facility by the beginning of June and the the Hallmark Group is currently building a new dealership in the south of Johannesburg in Eastcliff. Building operations are expected to be completed in September and the dealership has started trading in new and used cars. The new premises are situated next to the “The Glen” shopping centre.

Owing to the building operations, a shuttle service to the existing New Vaal dealership in Vereeniging is being offered for customers wishing to service their cars.

Thursday, 14 May 2009


In a country like Japan it’s surprising that hybrids are not as commonplace as one would expect. But that may be changing now. Honda has announced that its new Insight Hybrid was the best-selling car in that country for the month of April. It sold 10 481 units.

This is the first time in Japan’s history that a hybrid has outsold everything else in the market. To top it all, the Insight toppled its own sibling the small Jazz off the list. The Jazz has been the most popular car in Japan since December 2008.

Honda South Africa currently has no plans to sell the Insight here. That might change though because the car’s main rival the new 2009 Toyota Prius will go on sale here later in the year.


South Africa will be getting the new Volkswagen Polo in early 2010. Here we have a bit of information about the car which has just been revealed in Europe. It goes on sale there in a few weeks time.

The new Polo is 54mm longer, 32mm wider and 14mm lower than the current model but its wheelbase is longer as well meaning more interior space. VW says over 10.6 million Polos have been sold worldwide since it began selling five generations ago.

Five new engines are to be made available with the Polo. The smallest is the 1.2 MPI with a barely adequate 44kW. I doubt this engine will make it to Mzansi since it’s so underpowered. Next up is the 1.2 TSI with a turbo which produces 77kW and has a claimed average fuel consumption figure of 5.5 litres per 100km. As expected a turbo diesel also makes its appearance in the form of a 1.6 TDI making 55kW, 66kW and 77kW, depending on the model.

Other key features include the new 7-speed DSG which appears in the Polo for the first time. Then there is the standard ABS while ESP is standard in Europe. Hopefully we also get the Euro-spec cars. There are optional audio and satellite navigation systems similar to those found in the Tiguan and Golf VI.

The Polo is one of Mzansi’s biggest selling vehicles. In fact it is the biggest selling passenger car in the country. Judging from these specs and pictures that trend will continue, depending of course on how it is priced.

If VW SA prices it well then there’s no reason it should not stay atop the sales charts and even make it to the finals of the 2010 South African Guild of Motoring Journalists’ Car of the Year competition.